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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
February 17, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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February 17, 2010

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 7A Indian Valley community pa,:KS school board meeting Mona Hill Staff Writer mhill@plumasnews.corn Approximately 40 Indian Valley residents filled the Plumas Unified School Dis- trict's boardroom Tuesday, Feb. 9, awaiting their oppor- tunity to address the school board. A standing-room-only crowd spilled into the hall- way; some sat on the floor. They came prepared with specific details and requests for the district's attention, which they believe is re- quired at Greenville High School, a mere 24 hours after a meeting in Greenville with Superintendent Glenn Harris and district administrators. Board president Brad Bak- er opened the public com- ment portion of the meeting by reading from the Educa- tion Code, included in the agenda, with regard to public comment: "No action or dis- cussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda except that members of the board or Plumas Unified School Dis- trict staff may briefly re- spond to statements made or questions posed." Baker said there were ru- mors flying around the com- munity that he likened to the perennial rumors of a Mac- Donald's franchise opening in Quincy. "There is no talk of Greenville High School (clos- ing); there is no conspiracy. There is no talk of closing Greenville Elementary School; there is no intent not to support Greenville," Baker added. Travis Rubke, a longtime GHS teacher, spoke first, ac- knowledging the cost per stu- dent at GHS might be more than other high schools but Need help REP NG SINCE 1984 General Building Contractor Calif. Lic. #453927 (530) 283-2035 that the board needed tO es- tablish priorities. He added a half-time administrator was insufficient. Addressing the subject of building a financial reserve as recommended in the School Services of Califor- nia's review of the district's financial health (available at, Rubke said that while it was probably sound financial advice, it was counter to long-term goals, given the current situ- ation. He illustrated his point by referencing his son's small business, saying that without an infusion of cash, there would have been no business in business in following years. In closing, Rubke urged the board and the district, "In- vest in the here and now and deviate to support Greenville High School." In all, 13 Indian Valley res- idents addressed the board with personnel examples of the dire situation at GHS. Christy Brown, parent and parent club president, told the board a part-time admin- istrator had not worked in the past and was not working now. She said students were suffering because of lack of access to principal Laura Blesse on issues ranging from discipline to teacher and parent access. Brown also told the board there was a critical need for remedial and advanced placement classes--not every child is in the middle of the road she said. Brown said she feared Greenville students would not be ready for college. Several speakers repeated fhat theme. Stacy Kingdon told the board her son was forced to take Spanish III be- cause no Spanish II was available. She broke down when she said her son told her he felt no motivation for school; he spends second pe- riod in the library because there is no class for him to take. Several parents repeated that story: Their children had no classes to take or had to miss classes they needed because of schedule conflicts. GHS faculty and staff fol- lowed with the same laundry list of issues: insufficient leadership, too few classes and not enough choices were the causes of inadequate aca- demic preparation for gradu- ating, college-bound seniors. The consensus was the dis- trict is failing in its educa- tional obligation to students. The two most electrifying presentations were made by John Holland, former GHS teacher and coach, and Bill Gimple, a concerned Indian Valley resident who followed Holland. Holland's comments were essentially the same as those he made the previous evening: He is "disappointed in the board for creating a death spiral in Greenville." He said students in Greenville deserve the same opportunities that other schools (in the district) have. He added that in the past the state of California had held the school district's board personally liable for the physical safety of the dis- 5oro00tmist Interrtationa00 of Portofa Fri., Feb. 26 Sled Dog Vet Check at the Portola City Park 2-5pro Bring the kids and family! SaL, Feb. 27 Sled Dog Race 8:30am-4pm Chalet View 12pm Teach Your Dog to Pull Snowshoe Fun Run 2K Snowshoe Race Pee Wee Race (coil for more info & times) Meet Mushers Dinner & Music at the Elks Lodge 6pm Mushers Movie Night for the Kids supervised at the Chalet View Lodge Conference Room Sun., Feb. 28 Dog Sled Races 8:30am-3:30pm Scholarship, Program & Event Fundraiser California Gold/Hush Lake Davis 5led Dog and Snow Show Races February 26, 27 & 28 , 2010 NEW STAGING AREA - Chalet View & Fiflipini Flat, Hwy 70 Contact #: 530-832-5577 G 'i i,, i i)!)i ii i 1,t:':!  ....  " : C,.Q." '  , . Tim V. Jones ..,. _' Guincy d-00sh' 15301 283-3800 (800) 910-015H P.O. Box209 NE T W 0 R K. " B r i n g $ I t D o w n T o E a r t h " State Reg, #E70726 AUTHORIZED RETAILER Dltal Home Advantage offer requires 24-moth commitment and cmdif qualification. If service is terminated before the end of omm tment, cancellation fee of __ ..% tl.-.u .me,_ulH N ,etv_. ctn:mle,m o. rttvnmtm..togrammlng .ct. Ifl wJII ap dudng the flint 3 rnonthL Customer must downgrade or then-cummI w apply. Mt$ anti rlllllml] gmlnrleli lrl lelce manta Ire me property of Home Box umce In SHOWTIME and IltlKI meltl am tnldl.mrk= f hnwttma no.. CB5 comlny. ' ...................... 7--- trict's building and asked, "I wonder what would happen if you are personally liable for the curriculum?" Gimple systematically challenged Harris, citing the newspaper report on the No- vember 2009 board meeting that Harris has said was mis- interpreted; Lisa Balbioni's remarks at the same meeting; trustee Jonathan Kusel's re- marks at the December meet- ing and again at the January board meeting regarding meetings he'd had with stu- dents; GHS senior Haley Fox's e-mail correspondence with Harris and his subse- quent meeting with GHS stu- dents in January; and Rubke's and Sue Weber's re- marks at the January board meeting. Gimple said, "Plumas Uni- fied School District has a very serious communica- tions problem and a lack of transparency." At that point, board presi- dent Baker erupted: "You're wrong!" Baker repeatedly tried to shout down Gimple until Gimple said, "I told you this was my perception of re- ality; perhaps yours is differ- ent. If I may be allowed to continue my remarks ..." Gimple warned that Harris faced a loss of credibility and the board faced a crisis of conflict. He concluded by calling for a meeting with board member Sonja Ander- son, Baker and others-- specifically without Harris-- to redress parents' griev- ances. Harris responded by stat- ing his appreciation for resi- dents' time the previous evening. He summarized the issues as a need for more sec- tions with diversity of selec- tion, more full-time adminis- tration, improved morale and facilities. Harris said it was not an easy fix; that the problem had been many years in the making: declining popula- tions, lost businesses, etc. and that it would take time to change things. Anderson said she'd been on the board two terms and it wasn't for the $20 a month trustees receive. The deci- sions the board has had to make were not easy ones, but there was only a finite amount of money. Anderson said the high re- serve amount was prepara- tion against the time when the district was no longer a basic aid district and became a revenue limit district. California school districts are funded in two ways: basic aid and revenue limit. Basic aid occurs when county prop- erty taxes are more than the "average daily attendance (students in seats)" amount the state says a district should receive (revenue lim- it). Oftentimes that is sub- stantially more than the rev- enue limit the state would al- locate. When a school district is no longer a basic aid district, the drop in revenue is sud- den and large. Kusel offered his thanks and appreciation for the turnout both evenings. He said, "We have kids who aren't getting what they need, period." Kusel added, "If we don't provide more classes, we are setting up increased costs per students, because students will jump ship to get what See Packs, page 8A PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT "Helping Shape our Communities since 1972." 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