In a four-hour meeting June 28, Plumas Unified School District board of directors approved the proposed budget for 2012-13.
The budget uses projected declining enrollment and revenue figures and shows a deficit spending amount of $4,149,366.99, as of June 26.
Yvonne Bales, director of business services, said, “The problem is that our revenue is dropping faster than we can reduce our expenditures.”
There are so many unknown factors at the state and county levels that these figures are only approximate and could very likely change.
“The budget is a moving target,” Bales said. “The economy is a moving target.” Huge losses in revenue have resulted mainly from decreased property tax assessments. The 2011-12 fiscal year ended with a $4,043,315.58 deficit.
Greenville science teacher Travis Rubke spoke during the public comment period and implored the board to reconsider certificated teacher and principal allotments for Greenville schools.
Rubke, named Educator of the Year for Region 2 in 2010-11, stated that former superintendent of schools Glen Harris “choked us down to where we are now.”
The current budget calls for just 1.5 full-time teachers in very popular Career Technical Education (CTE) courses. Culinary arts teacher Judy Dolphin must now teach other classes as well, according to Rubke.
Rubke made an appeal to restore CTE classes to Indian Valley, or even half of them. “I’d like to see that legacy (Harris’) completely erased. We’re going to grow if we’re given a chance to grow.”
Rubke also made comments regarding the leadership for the combined Taylorsville and Greenville elementary schools, which were allocated just a half-time principal.
There are so many activities at the high school, Rubke noted: “all those activities suck up the principal’s time, leaving little for the elementary school.”
“There are too many issues,” Rubke said. “The elementary school will continue to play second fiddle to the high school.”
The board asked audience member Gary Stebbins, principal of the two Indian Valley elementary schools, to speak to this issue.
“I know a lot of progress has been made. Greenville Elementary is the lowest school in the district in terms of assessment.”
But Stebbins believes that the first priority is to get the proper school culture in place, and then focus on instruction. He believes that culture is now in place.
Because of the impending merger of the two schools, Stebbins has been paving the way for an easier transition these past several months.
He has worked with each school’s students, parents and faculty to come up with a new identity for the combined school.
Indian Valley Elementary is the name chosen for this new entity. The mascot chosen is the wandering wolf, making the students the wolf pack.
The board asked Stebbins to head up an advisory committee to finalize renaming the school. There will be a public hearing July 11 at 5 p.m. at the district office, 50 Church St. in Quincy, to discuss the proposed name change.
The board spent nearly an hour discussing the pros and cons of hiring a half-time principal serving Greenville Elementary the entire year, or a full-time principal for half the year, then having the high school principal take over.
Issues of continuity of leadership, merging of two schools, availability of qualified applicants mid-year for the principal’s position, budget restrictions and state retiree legislation were important factors.
The board approved a motion 3-1 to hire a full-time principal for the first semester. Chairman Chris Russell was absent and director Bob Tuerck voted against the motion.
The board members moved into closed session to discuss the superintendent vacancy. After close to 90 minutes, they emerged to report no action taken.
The board approved a motion to hold a special meeting for discussion and possible action to approve a contract for the superintendent position.
Other matters of note were the approval of a couple of deferred maintenance projects at district schools, including a window replacement project at Quincy High School and a concrete replacement project at Quincy Elementary School.
Also, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Central Plumas Recreation and Park District (CPRPD) and PUSD was reached.
Jim Boland, administrator of CPRPD, spoke briefly about the MOU, which formalizes a long-standing agreement between the two districts, authorizing joint use of facilities at no cost to either party. The board voted unanimously to approve the MOU.
There was no public input at the Plumas County Office of Education board meeting, held immediately after the PUSD meeting was adjourned.
The proposed 2012-13 budget was approved. Interfund transfers to cover Forest Reserve related expenditures were also approved, in addition to CTE construction project expenditures.
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