Penn Valley school district OKs closing Pleasant Valley Elementary
Special to The Union
After hours of discussion, the board of directors for the Penn Valley Union Elementary School District finally reached a decision Tuesday night regarding which of five school closure scenarios it should enact to help combat a growing budget deficit.
The district is looking to close one of its three schools after the 2016-2017 school year. The option chosen was “Option A,” on a unanimous vote.
That option is estimated to cost around $140,000 and would close Pleasant Valley Elementary School, which serves grades 4-8. Williams Ranch, a K-3 school, would be converted to a K-5 school, and Ready Springs would remain a K-8 school. The biggest expense to the district under that option would be the remodel of several portable classrooms at Williams Ranch.
“In my professional opinion … Option A is the best option programatically and financially,” said District Superintendent Torie England. “Having a situation where we could create a true junior high could be fantastic for students.”
Option B was also in play, as England called it the second most viable. It still would have meant the closure of Pleasant Valley, but would have expanded Williams Ranch to a K-8 school and would have saved the district the same amount of money as Option A.
Option E, which would have closed Pleasant Valley and would have offered the lowest one-time cost, was briefly floated by board member Debra Worth as an alternative, but no other support was given.
The vote came despite the desire of many in the audience to put off any decision. The board, however, stressed they had done their due diligence and needed to make a decision now.
“This wasn’t done capriciously. We’re doing this because we’re having a financial crisis,” said board member Carolyn Bronson. “The final decision is, are we choosing to continue having a vibrant school district? None of us want to make the decision but that’s what we’re charged with.”
“We’re trying to do what’s best for your children and our children,” said board member Tina Skrukrud.
Spencer Kellar is a freelance writer living in Nevada City; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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