Parents not enthusiastic about middle school combination proposal | SierraSun.com

Parents not enthusiastic about middle school combination proposal

Kyle Magin
Sierra Sun
Kyle Magin/Sierra SunSteve Jennings addresses a crowd of about 75 parents Tuesday night at Alder Creek Middle School. The School District held the meeting to discuss the possible closure of North Tahoe Middle School, combining it with Alder Creek Middle School in Truckee.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. ” Representatives from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District presented the proposal to send all of the district’s middle school students to Alder Creek Middle School in Truckee next year in a parent meeting Tuesday night at Alder Creek.

The restructuring move would stem the possibility of a precariously-functioning North Tahoe Middle School, district administration said, adding the school would be staffed for about 10 teachers and could not adequately serve the student population.

A combined middle school, said Alder Creek Principal Susan Phebus, could serve all students with a full schedule and a full elective slate.

Phebus also said a combined school would allow teachers to collaborate with peers more extensively.

Some parents openly questioned the move, which the district said would net a savings of about $250,000 in the face of an approximate $4 million projected budget deficit for the 2009-10 school year.

Stan Scott said he didn’t believe the district would realize the educational benefits it was touting Tuesday.

“I don’t buy it at all,” said Stan Scott, a parent of elementary school children in North Lake Tahoe. “I’m really happy with the way things are going now, and I worry about my kids’ quality of life if they are spending a couple of hours a day on a bus just to get to school.”

For parents like Lilia Suter, who lives in Truckee and has a sixth grader, the commute wouldn’t change, but she fears the quality of education would.

“I have reservations about it, definitely,” Suter said. “If we’re only going to have only 27 teachers and more English language learners, how is that going to affect my student, who is on the upper end of the class?”

Suter said the plan didn’t sound like it saved “an awful lot” of money.

Chuck Avery, an Alder Creek Middle School parent, said he understood the reason for the move and supported it.

“I understand the restructuring, I think it seems to make sense from an educational and cost savings standpoint,” Avery said.

Superintendent Steve Jennings said the restructuring proposal would need to be approved by the board quickly in order for the district to apply it next year.

Jennings said he’d like any action be taken before mid-April and said any delay makes it hard for the district to put the necessary plans in place to close North Tahoe Middle School in time.

He also did not rule out combining one or both of the North Lake Tahoe elementary schools ” Tahoe Lake and Kings Beach ” into the empty North Tahoe Middle School site.