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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 2, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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May 2, 2012

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Community members voice their concerns about schools "'It's like two wolves sitting down with a lamb and one says, 'Let's vote on what's for dinner. "'" Former Plumas Unified School District Superin- tendent Mike Chelotti, on the feeling that decisions had already been made about school closures "7 will move before I put my kid in a (consolidated) K-12 school, and I will move before my kid has to go to a charter school. I believe in a traditional public high school, that's why I got into it. "" Chester teacher Caitlyn Dalby on school consoli- dation plans ':As a parent-teacher, the impact of massive layoffs and shuffling of assignments is horribly clear: another year of teachers scrambling to 'get through the day" with no time for effective planning for diverse, engaging lessons. "" --Aleece Bequette-Oravetz, English teacher, Quincy High School, on 75 teachers receiving layoff or bump notices "'I will save the district the cost of a recall election Iquit. "" School board member Brad Baker, as he walked out of the March 8 board meeting ':Administrators, teachers, parents should all be brought into the decision-making process from the beginning and not mid-stream .... To get together in small rooms and start making decisions that's degrading and insulting. "" Shelley Morrison, at Quincy 7-11 Committee meeting "'You are speaking not just to the board, but the whole county. Everybody is going to hear you. '" Chairman Chris Russell to 7-11 committees at February board meeting "'The quandary is how to save money, not which school to close as framed by the administration .... We are in this as a community. The committee has the opportunity to influence the process for the benefit of all rather thah marginalizing one side of town. "" --Jim Belsher Howe we have, "How do we maximize educational opportu- nities for our kids?" When we ask that, a whole world opens up. We can't get out of a box if we ask how to save our schools. '" Glenn Harris, superintendent, Plumas Unified School District, January board meeting "'We do not need to spend any money (on improve- ments), not a cent right now, unless mandated to do so .... Folks I know would rather have a job and no parking lot than a parking lot and no job. "" --Joe Hagwood "We shouldn't be asking, 'What is the cheapest way to get through this crisis?' but "How do we want our children raised in the future?' Does anyone think we put the school of the future next to the mill?" --Michael Jackson "'This sucks. "" Board member Brad Baker to Superintendent Glenn Harris after voting Feb. 22 to lay off 32.5 full- time equivalent positions "'You have a $3.8 million deficit that's huge. Only a smallportion of that can be addressed by facili- ties. Eighty percent of your budget is personnel. '" --Guy McNett, member of Facilities Advisory Committee, to board at December meeting "We declare that pride in community and pride in quality of education are not opposite choices. In a rural area such as ours they are so intertwined as to be indistinguishable. The superintendent chooses to ignore that when he suggests closing schools, just as he chooses to ignore the impact on the students, their families and their town. '" Centella Tucker, chairwoman of Indian Valley 7-11 Committee to board at February meeting "We have got to get our costs down. We can't bleed at $4 million a year. It is not sustainable. '" Yvonne Bales, business director for PUSD/PCOE to board at June meeting when budget is adopted "'This is home our familie have been here for gen- erations. It's not easy for us to pick up and move to be close to our children. This reminds us of the time when the grandparents were taken away and sent to boarding schools." Marlene Mullen, Roundhouse Council Indian Educational Center "We're looking at schools as if they were just facilities windows, kitchens, boilers. But a school is more than that; it's a community of students, teachers and community members." --Alan Morrison, sixth-grade teacher, Quincy Elementary School, January board meeting "'Instead of asking, "How do we save our local schools?' we should be asking, with the resources "'What has taken place in the past few days is personal. I am a person. Pointing fingers at this time is very unhealthy." Sonja Anderson, school board member, to Chester 7-11 Committee on receiving a recall notice "'Reduce it down to just teachers and students and a slate in a grove." Jeff Cunan to school board at March 15 meeting 7"1 1, continued typically developing students. There is no clearly developed plan about how typically devel- oping students will be incorpo- rated with QSDS students. Needs of QSDS stUdentgf6r interaction with typically developing peers can be met at the current location with the FRC preschool program. The committee has concerns that a district program would compete for state funding with existing providers. --The committee strongly recommends that the board not approve funding for a new parking lot. There is insuffi- cient justification to incur the significant cost Of building a new parking lot at Quincy Ele- mentary. A new parking area at Quincy E1 would impinge upon student physical educa- tion and play spaces. Laying off teachers while building parking lots and/or moving portables sends an inappro- priate message about district priorities. (We understand these are funded from differ- ent ources.) : --The committee recom- mends the development of a construction advisory com- mittee to study and provide input for all school construc- tion projects. Members should include parents and staff in conjunction with administra- tion and architects. This recommendation has merit for all communities in PUSD. - With consolidation at Quincy El, the committee strongly recommends that the district develop an articulated plan for improved ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility. This plan should include input from parents, students and staff in conjunction with administra- tion and architects. Joint 7-11 committees' recommendations Keep K-12 educational programs within each of the four Plumas County commu- nities. The PUSD governing board should direct the admin- istration to use its energies to save the communities' schools and provide the children of those communities with the best education possible. --Utilize reserve funds to stabilize the budget during the transition from deficit spend- ing to balanced spending. Maintain schools, teachers and quality programs for all Plumas County students. --Establish a long-term advisory committee, an aus- terity committee to provide continued advice to the board on sensible financial cuts to bring the budget into control over a three- to five-year period. This committee should have representation from all four communities, the teaching and classified staff, the students and the business interests in the county to consider cost savings that do not close schools. Further considerations It is our opinion that the technology infrastructure is limited, and the need to update technology is critical. Wireless technology almost eliminates the need to run wire in school buildings. Students and teachers need more computer accessibility and labs in all school facilities. We recommend pursuit of grant financing to improve technology infrastructure, hardware, curricula and instruction. We recommend that during this transitional year of consolidation for Pioneer Quincy Elementary it is para- mount that the district retains a successful, proven adminis- trator at this school site. We recommend that all 17 classrooms at Quincy E1 be fully utilized and fully staffed so that class sizes can be retained at or below existing levels. --We ask that the governing board: Generate revenue by selling, leasing or mothballing properties that are sitting idle. For example, the for- mer Plumas County Com- munity School bt!ilding on Lee Road, Feather River Middle School, Jim Beck- wourth Continuation School, Almanor Alterna- tive High School and the Main Street property in Greenville. Conduct a formal appraisal of these sites along with an assessment of the district office and Pioneer Elemen- tary. Actively pursue other funding sources including but not limited to: grants and agreements, partnerships, tax measures, foundations and corporate benefactors. Assess schools for on-site savings such as energy efficiency that can be real- ized immediately. DISTRICT, continued INDIAN VALLEY Consolidate the two Indian Valley elemen- tary schools, Taylorsville and Greenville, into Greenville Elementary. --Make Greenville Elementary a K-8 campus, with a self-contained seventh- and eighth-grade classroom. Close Greenville High School effective 2012-13 and bus nine - 12 students to Chester High School; or Create a dependent charter school in Indian Valley This option depends on community action; parents of nine- 12 students would have to commit their children to this model for the 2012-13 school year. --Reduce the Wolf Creek residential Section of the Greenville-North Valley Road bus route. --Reduce the Williams Valley residential section of the Greenville-North Valley Road bus route. District administration recommendations --Reduce the Pecks Valley residential area of the Greenville-North Valley Road bus route. QUINCY --Consolidate the two area elementary schools into Pioneer Elementary Move the regional special education program, currently housed at Feather River College, to Pioneer Elementary This would require moving a portable building from either FRC or Almanor Alternative High School at an estimated cost of $100,000. --Remove Canyon bus route. Remove residential part of Meadow Valley route. CHESTER Almanor Alternative High School has already moved onto the Chester High School campus, freeing up portables for use in Quincy. --District should develop a long-term plan to consolidate Chester schools into a K-12 complex. The PUSD board should open communica- tion with Westwood schools to explore the possibility of one joint northern area high school. PORTOLA Feather River Middle School and Jim Beck- wourth Alternative High School have already moved to the Portola High School campus. --Board should open communication with the Sierra-Plumas School District to discuss com- bining services to provide a more cost-effective model for students in Portola, Beckwourth and Loyalton. --Add the A15 bus route to the Graeagle route. --Remove the A23 bus route. Parents could bring their students to the park and ride. TIMELINE ....  'l IT :[iV::!][Ii!l! :;i:];:::!ifiid:!It[|  ,