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

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8A Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010 Feather River Bulletin FACE-OFF, from page 6A the 43 percent claimed by the local teachers associa- tion. "She further stated that if California Teachers Associa- tion's figures are correct, our school district has the means and the obligation to devote more funds to meet- ing the needs of students," read the minutes from the public comment portion. "She said that more academ- ic and vocational class op- !tions,, smaller class sizes, and more classroom aides are seemingly possible given the reserve." "What about no child left behind, what about equity-- what about equality?" for- mer teacher John Holland demanded answers from Harris during the more re- cent meeting with parents. "What about all the sections that have been cut at GHS?" Holland continued. "Are we going to have equity, shop, ' some of the same classes as the other schools?" Harris said "no," not with the way Holland termed the question .with similar num- ber of sections at each school, and he said it isn't even just because of money. "The kids should have ac- cess to those classes in other means and other ways, ' Har- ris said of the advanced placement classes at Quincy, for example. One parent of an upcom- ing high school student spoke of her fear that some students "can soak that (on- line) stuffup, but what about the students that need hands on?" "None of us are looking at that as a fix-all," Harris re- sponded. "We're very aware of the benefits it can have for some kids and how it won't work for every kid--there's a lot of work we still have to do on that." " "We'd just like the same opportunities that other schools have, including a full-time administrator," Holland said. Several heads in the crowded cafeteria nodded in agreement. "This school has been the stepchild for more than 20 years," Holland continued. "We even get the old buses." Harris and other district officials then went over numbers of students lost from three schools in the dis- trict, as well as the costs as- sociated with educating the students who remained. Some of these cost-associ- ated numbers changed dramatically overnight, between the meeting with parents and the meeting with trustees. (See related article.) "We've lost some of our brightest students," Judy Gimple said, due to their dig- satisfaction, parent Bonnie Fox added. "And they'll keep going to the charter schools at this rate," another parent said. One parent asked adminis- trators if they knew why stu- dents were leaving the school, why enrollment was declining. Yvonne Bales said she thought it was because their parents were leaving the area. Then Harris responded by saying principal Laura Blesse had interviewed some of the families about that. "Not all," piped up Lisa Smith, a parent who pulled her daughter from school af- ter getting nowhere with concerns she shared with school site administration. Harris apologized to her and said it should never have gotten that far, though he did say that bringing con- cerns to those school admin- istrators was the first step parents should take. To that, parent Lauren Allen chimed in with her four-year fight to have op- tions available for academi- cally advanced students like her daughter, Sutter. She's heard administra- tors tell her the same thing over and over again, about how they will look into it, and that it will take some time. "If it takes six-iS months we'll be gone," she said. "We're bleeding dry." "I can't go to the board and say we need another half FTE (full-time equivalent) in Greenville," Harris respond- ed. "Where are we going to get the money?" "Reserves," Holland an- swered without hesitation. Harris explained how board members were the ones who decided the dis- trict needed so much in re- serves while they planned for a worst-case scenario. Anticipating drastic reductions in future rev- enue, trustees did not want to find themselves in the po- sition of making $4 million in cuts all at once, and a large reserve fund would stretch that time out to three years, he continued. The board's goal is to have a 45 percent reserve, he said, and the plan is to have 30-35 percent by the end of the year. "The board established budget priorities," teacher Travis Rubke said after resi- dents complained that a full- time administrator was needed more than a parking lot. "That's who you need to ask." "But what can we do in the short term?" resident Judy Gimple asked. The only answer for those who echoed her question was to wait for an advisory committee to meet, and for the looks and more looks mentioned earlier, a process that could last well into next year. Harris's answer was that there is no short-term fix for those parents who want a full-time administrator and those who want more class options for their children. "It's a planning process we will do with staff," he said. "That's a process for next year." Meanwhile, residents may access school board minutes online and read for them- selves how cuts in classes at Greenville have resulted in a decline in student popula- tion, which has meant more cuts in classes the following year. The minutes are available at pcoe.kl2.ca.us, where viewers can click on commu- nity, then meeting agendas and minutes. Editor's Note: Readers with access to YouTube may watch the Monday, Feb. 8, discus- sion between John Holland and Plumas Unified School District Superintendent Glenn Harris by searching for Holland-Harris or the aj- graphix channel. PACKS, from page 7A - .... ! they need." ! In a flurry of comments from the audience, Sam Bear asked if the board really un- ' derstood how many students would be pulled if something is not done, and Judy Gimple added, "Don't underestimate Indian Valley." ! The final speaker in the pub- E lic comment portion of the ! meeting was Faith Strailey, m ; speaking in her capacity as president of the Plumas Coun- t ty Teachers Association. Strailey spoke to the board about the growing rift be- tween the district and certifi- cated staff. She said teachers were being expected to take on additional "responsibili- ties with a proportionate re- duction in staff and student support." She cited the prepa- ration time required in addi- should not be ignored, cast aside, and labeled unsatisfac- tory simply because adminis- trators do not have the time, desire, or personal expertise themselves to assist the teacher. A teacher who ex- presses concerns over the ability to meet unreasonable expectations that have been required of him/her should not be identified as hostile and a liability." She said site administrators should be evaluated by dis- trict administrators just as teachers are by their princi- pals and read a list of 20 desir- able interpersonal attributes when interacting with staff. She closed her remarks by saying, "It is unacceptable that a district sitting on a 35.94 percent reserve in the amount of $9,091,000 would sacrifice the educational op- portunities for our students tion to instruction, and the healthfldEil-being Inreparad xemaksr*-l- af: lt staff deanffOrt to ae- ley :said .'A ,struggling. : quire a tota-l::veserve: of 45 teacher requesting help percent. No other California school district has found it necessary to divert so much of its revenues to amass a 45 percent reserve." With that, the board ad- journed for a closed session to discuss negotiations, pub- lic employment and to con- Terence with labor negotia- tor. Returning to open ses- sion approximately 90 min- utes later, Baker reported the board took no action in closed session. Business Services Director Yvonne Bales reported that district contracts with re- spect to prevailing wage re- quirements for public works projects would no longer be actively monitored by the business department. In- stead, the contractor would indicate his acceptance of that requirement by initial- ing the specific provisions. Bales continued her pre- sentation width a defense of , the d;istict's reserves.. She P0inted outthat while the School Services review rec- ommended a five-year re- serve, the board elected to build a three-year reserve, primarily funded by one-time forest reserve revenues, of 45 percent or an estimated $12- $14 million. According to Bales, two au- ditors had reviewed that amount and deemed it rea- sonable given declining en- rollment, basic aid status and an economy in which the tax base was projected to drop off significantly. From there, Bales moved on to report a revision to her estimated costs per student at each of the district's high schools. Bales had made a similar presentation the pre- vious evening in Greenville. She handed out tables of stu- dent projections and of costs per student showing her vari- ous calculations. The board also heard pre- sentations from Superinten- dent Harris regarding negot!. ations to build broadband in- frastructure to deliver Recycle Your E-Waste for Freer TVs, Monitors, electronics (no hazardous waste or appliances} Saturday February 20th 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at each of the following Waste Management sites: Quincy- Abernethy Lane Chester - Hwy 36 & A-I 3 Greenville - Greenville Dump Road From everyday collection to environmental protection, Think Green. Think Waste Management. Feather River Disposal, Inc. 283-2065 Serving Quincy, Greenville, Chester/Lake Almanor WASTE MANAGEMENT Think Green: greater capacity to district schools and possible ARRA funding; teacher support and motivators, impending crisis management training for fac- ulty and staff; Tori Willits' report on the subject of grant funding for early childhood intervention for at-risk preschool children; and David Putnam's facilities and maintenance report. Foll0wi.ng adjournment, board president Brad Baker responded to questions about his apparent anger with Bill Gimple early in the evening. Baker said most of the speak- ers had genuine concerns that were constructive and heart- felt, "one was insulting" and the speaker who followed bore the brunt of his anger. Pressed, Baker said John Holland had been insulting in the remarks he directed to the board. He continued by saying the board is not re- sponsibie.for staffing deci- sions; it is responsible for policy--the superintendent is responsible for staffing. He attributed the problems at GHS to having had eight administrators in seven years and that the superin- tendent in charge at the time had made those staffing deci- sions, that the board does not get involved. He defended Harris saying, "Mr. Harris is not the person responsible (for the crisis in Greenville)." Asked who was responsi- ble, Baker responded, "If (Mike) Chelotti had directed demands to the board, the board would have approved." Asked if he viewed the situ- ation as a conflict between Chelotti and Harris, Baker said no. He added that he be- lieved Chelotti's comments to the paper in November were "non professional, counter- productive and may have misled:the conmtity." Charter advocates begin organizing Indian Valley Academy or- ganizers met Thursday, Feb. 11, in the Greenville Town Hall and explained their goals for the independent charter school to about 50-60 parents, residents and public school officials, including teachers, staff members, trustees and district-level personnel. Organizers included Cen- tella Tucker, Mike Chelotti, Sue Weber, and Bill and Judy Gimple, all of Indian Valley, as well as representatives from the Lassen County- based Westwood Charter SPEND *1 SAVE *5 Every *1 you spend on wellness, you can save up to *5 on costs associated with 2288 E. Main St., Quincy, CA www.curvesquincy.com School, an organization that has agreed to provide admin- istrative and financial help until the Indian Valley Acad- emy is ready to stand on its own as an independent char- ter school. The Indian Valley Acade- my would start out under the umbrella of Westwood Char- ter School, a Western Associ- ation of Schools and Colleges # accredited program with about 500 students enrolled from more than two counties. More information about the Westwood program may be found at wcschool.net or by calling 256-2995. More information about the Indian Valley Academy can be found on Facebook, or by mailing a letter of interest to Centella Tucker at P.O. Box 298, Greenville, CA 95947. Need help REPI ING If it's ing we can'll find someo can. (530) 283-2035