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Candidates vie for high school district board of trustees

A sometime teacher and an active volunteer are running for a four-year term in the only contested race for the Nevada Joint Union High School District board of trustees.

Lorraine Plagge, 55, is a two-term Nevada City Elementary School trustee who volunteers in a first-grade classroom and at Nevada Union High School. She says it’s time for young parents to move onto the elementary school board and for her to contribute more to the high school.

Corrine Parilo, 50, a credentialed high school teacher, says the current trustees are only a rubber stamp for superintendent Joe Boeckx, who received a vote of no confidence from the Nevada Union High School Teachers’ Association in May.



“It’s not my goal to win. It’s my goal to let people know the depth of problems in the district,” Parilo said.

Parilo, who taught high school students remedial English for two years at Nevada Union High School, said she doesn’t believe the district serves struggling students well. Current board members’ children are in advanced placement classes, and Parilo wonders whether the board members can appreciate what a struggling student at NU goes through.




“I don’t believe they do,” Parilo said. “They live in AP land and think all the kids are getting a quality education.”

Parilo was also alarmed at how parents, concerned about coaches’ fast driving speeds when transporting students, were told that asking for coaches’ DMV records was a violation of coaches’ rights.

Plagge’s only criticism of the school board is that communication among the board, teachers and the superintendent could be better.

“There seems to me to be a lack of communication and very little discussion at public meetings of issues going to be decided,” Plagge said.

The teachers’ union is endorsing Plagge.

“We feel Lorraine has the experience, is committed to kids, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering at the school,” said Sven Ostrom, union president. The 220-member association voted 121 to 4 to endorse Plagge, Ostrom said.

So is Terry McAteer, Nevada County’s superintendent of schools, who cites Plagge’s “boardmanship” and volunteer time at NU as her chief qualifications.

Plagge, who served three years on NU’s Site Council, is president of the Nevada Union Joint High School District Foundation, which granted 11, $1,000 scholarships from an endowment this year. She’s been on the board for three years.

Plagge is also on the four-member Measure A bond oversight committee, which funds improvements to Bear River High School.

“I’m running to be a representative of all the schools in the district – Sierra Mountain, Silver Springs, Bear River – all of them,” Plagge said.

Parilo, a 26-year resident of Nevada County, is a business-writing trainer working with El Dorado County employees, which she finds “more lucrative than teaching” with two kids in college.

“Our school district is in trouble,” Parilo wrote in a statement.

Parilo moved here from Sacramento in 1976. She’s served on the Nevada City Elementary School Site Council and was a room mother and activities coordinator at Seven Hills School.

She was a junior high school teacher for two years, an English teacher at NU for two years and a substitute teacher at NU for eight years. She’s was a Nevada County Health Department bike rodeo/helmet safety coordinator for six years and a board member of “Teens Living with Crisis” for the past five years. But remedial students remain her first concern.

“In my second year, I taught 24 remedial students,” Parilo said. “By Christmas, 12 had left because of pregnancy or drugs. Some dropped out and went to Sierra Mountain (continuation high school, now called Sierra Foothill High School).”

“I’m alarmed when I hear many, many kids say ‘I’m frustrated in class,'” Parilo said.

Three seats on the board are open, but because only one candidate filed in each of two districts, those elections are uncontested, and the candidates will be appointed to four-year terms.

Daniel Miller will represent trustee area two, taking over from incumbent Debra Robertson, who is not seeking re-election; incumbent Jon Katis will represent trustee area five.

All registered voters in the high school district – western Nevada County and part of Yuba County because Camptonville School kids attend district high schools – may vote on any open seat on the board of trustees.

The posts pay a $240 monthly stipend.


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