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   These are a few of the stories you will find in this week's printed newspaper:
  • Fire district responds: The Graeagle Fire Protection District’s board explains its process for annexing the Feather River Inn development into the GFPD
  • Storm aftermath: The first winter storm to hit Plumas County the season wasn’t as strong as forecasters predicted, but it still toppled trees and left thousands without power.
  • Costly chase: Three Caltrans snowplows and a CHP vehicle were badly damaged after a man stole a snowplow and led officers on a two-hour chase.

Supervisors voice concern over school closures

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer

Plumas County leaders want to have a say about the fate of the county’s schools.

At their meeting Tuesday, Jan. 17, the county’s Board of Supervisors approved sending a letter to the Plumas Unified School District requesting some communication.

The school district has outlined its recommendations for school closures and faculty layoffs for the 2012-13 academic year.

Although school-board-appointed committees, called 7-11 committees, are in the process of examining cuts, the county supervisors said the school district’s process to date hasn’t been very open.

Chester Junior-Senior High, currently home to a few students from Indian Valley, could see that number rise should the Plumas Unified School District act upon recommendations made at its last regular board meeting and close Greenville High School. Photo by Jason Theobald

Board Chairman Robert Meacher asked the supervisors to send a letter as an emergency item, since the board doesn’t have another scheduled meeting until Feb. 7.

“It seems to me that decisions are being made on our behalf in a vacuum,” Meacher said. “I have not even had a phone call or email on this. That to me indicates a game afoot.”

Meacher said people in his district “were horrified by the fact that nobody from the school district has contacted me that Greenville High School and Taylorsville Elementary are on the short list to be closed.”

In addition to those two schools, the school district has recommended closing Quincy Elementary School. The district has also recommended reducing a number of bus routes.

The cutbacks and closures would eliminate 29 full-time equivalent faculty positions.

The supervisors authorized Meacher to a sign a letter to Plumas Unified School District requesting it “engage the Board of Supervisors in regard to possible closure of schools and consolidation; and concerns with makeup of the committee involved in making these decisions.”

Supervisor Jon Kennedy said he was shocked by how few public members have been attending open committee meetings about the school cuts.

“There was a first 7-11 committee that was going to discuss the consolidation of Pioneer School and Quincy Elementary. That was last week. I think two people from the public showed up,” Kennedy said. “Two people from the public showed up to talk about closing a school in Quincy?

“I think there’s probably a little more concern in this community than that. It hasn’t been advertised or publicized.”

He urged county residents to get involved in the process.

“Whoever’s here (at the Board of Supervisors meeting), start paying attention to what’s going on at the school district,” Kennedy said. “Because I think there is something fishy.”

Meacher said he was told by a former school district superintendent “that time was of the essence. It’s critical. He was blown away that we (county supervisors) weren’t in the loop.”

According to the PUSD administration’s facilities budget study, the closures and cuts could save the district up to $2.5 million a year.

The cuts would still leave the district — which is currently deficit spending $4 million a year — in the red. At the current rate, the district would spend its $12 million reserve in three years.

The district’s recommended cuts are just one set of possibilities school board members will weigh before they make a final decision. That decision is expected in April.

The district will be considering input from the various board-appointed 7-11 committees for each community.

They are called “7-11” because they must have a minimum of seven members and a maximum of 11.

The Indian Valley group meets Tuesday afternoons at 4 p.m. in the Greenville High School library.

Quincy’s committee will hold a public forum Thursday, Jan. 26, and Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. A third forum is expected to take place Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. All of the Quincy forums are scheduled to be at Quincy High School.

The Chester committee holds its first meeting this afternoon at 4:30 in Room 2 at Chester High School. The Portola committee also convenes this evening at 5 p.m. at the Portola High School library.

The committees are scheduled to make their recommendations to the school board in March.

Mr supereisor<br /><br /> do you give a **** about the kids ?<br /> i think we all should move your ass to butte county .i also think the parents should demand an investigation into your office <br /> yours truly d
Leo...why couldn't "they" voice their opinion at the first meeting? That meeting was the same as the others, just less publicized. Just curious what you mean buy that comment.<br />Thanks,<br />Jon
I would have to say that most people did not attend the first meeting because they could not voice their opinion. They probably feel that it is more productive to attend meetings where they are allowed to voice their opinions. Thus that is a large part of the turn out for the second meeting
This area has done it to its self, we need the copper mine open and the jobs it will make, mount huff ski area, dose anyone really know the money that would come from that, there are ways with out blaming Obama , just numbers of voters and voting the right person will make change, and Walmart!
The sad fact is that the timber industry has all but died in our County and our schools and our Road department do not recieve the funding they have in the past. The #s of students have dwendled, do we keep every school open for a few students? Do we want to spend $$ on buildings or students?
P.Shepherd; We have plenty of issues to deal with and this is one of them. Had we not got involved, much of the community still wouldn't know what's going on. TCMC...kind of comical, huh? Mary- correct, and neither should the rest of the community. Again, my number is 836-1674.
B.O.S. should NOT have to learn this info by reading the paper. There is a huge lack of communication in this county,feeding us info as they see fit. these 7-11 mtgs are a joke. the decisions to close these schools has already been made.mtgs r disguise to make us feel we have a say in this.
The county supervisors cannot seem, according to the public, to do the right thing. They are criticized for their lack of participation in the school closure process and, at the same time, they are criticized for wanting to be involved.
Rusty P. Shepherd Thursday, 26 January 2012
Jon, glad the BOS is open to comments. My point is this: how is a letter from the County going to help the School Board? It won't. And, don't you folks on the BOS have issues of your own to deal with? Yes, you do. See comment number 9!
Maybe if we had some JOBS in this county, PEOPLE might stick around a little bit more.... Seems like everything is slowly closing up and the "Good Ol Boys" aren't willing to let anything in.
@Jon,<br /><br />I can't speak for others, but it could be that people are disinterested. Or lazy. Or have competing obligations. It certainly isn't because they didn't know about the meetings. You'll have to ask the DO about anything related to them.
1st: P. Shepherd, the BOS welcomes any and all criticizm; not a problem. <br />2nd:Amber, Melissa and Mary...explain why only 2 people were at the Quincy 7-11 Cmte meeting. While you're at it: explain why the DO made recommendations without regard to the results of cmte mtgs. 836-1674 is my number.
I live two states away from Plumas County, and apparently I have a better grasp of what's going on with the school closures than at least two of the county supervisors. How? By reading this paper online. There is no lack of information out there.....just a lack of reading. Easy to fix.
The discussion of school closures has certainly been in the paper, meetings have been going on for months. Not sure why the Board of Sups feels they have been blind sided, don't they read the local paper? I do not have any children in school but I knew about this issue.
As a parent of 2 children who will be affected by these closures, I'm a little incredulous that Kennedy would claim a lack of notice. I've seen no less than 4 flyers and have received 1 phone call directly from the district. Not only are these meetings publicized, there's plenty of notice!!
Hmmm...I wonder what the Supervisors would think if the School Board sent them such a letter-I bet they'd say "mind your own business." Rather than complain about transparency, lets all work together rather than get into another Plumas County spitting contest!
We need to see a printed public record of the yearly spending of all departments in the school district. This should include the administrative and school board spending, salaries, insurance and all perks. A possibility to save more money, the school district office, moving into one of the schools.




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