Private school in Incline Village sees enrollment uptick
INCLINE VILLAGE “-The financial struggles of local public school systems is causing a bump in enrollment at the Incline Village-based Lake Tahoe School, said Headmaster Steve McKibben.
The private K-8 school is projecting an enrollment of 150 to 155 next year, up slightly from 140 this year.
“I think it’s the uncertainty caused by the economic crisis and potential restructuring of the public school districts,” McKibben said.
About 67 percent of the school’s enrollment currently comes from Incline, but McKibben said students come from as far away as Truckee and Douglas County.
In light of the financial woes for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, McKibben said he’s fielded 15 to 20 calls from families in the district’s borders.
“I think there’s some uncertainty of the district’s ability to offer the level of education parents expect,” McKibben said.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is weighing a resolution to close North Tahoe Middle School, sending some West Shore students on a bus ride as long as 55 minutes to Alder Creek Middle School in Truckee.
The move has parents upset, a point laid out by Tahoe City parent Stan Scott at a Tuesday night board meeting.
“I didn’t grow up being bussed to school, and we’ll reject your decision if you take our school away,” Scott said. “There are private school options, we can go to Incline, Reno … We don’t have to stay here.”
Donna Hartley of Tahoe City is one of the parents who already made the jump, enrolling eighth grade daughter Mariah as a sixth grader two years ago after spending elementary school at Tahoe Lake Elementary.
“We first came to the Lake Tahoe School to get an English tutor for my daughter when she was struggling,” Hartley said. “She saw the science lab, saw the computer lab, saw the Spanish lab and was incredibly impressed, she made the first commitment to want to go there.”
Hartley said she was willing to make the commitment ” which financially means a tuition of $15,225, as the school’s website lists ” based on the academic opportunities.
“I saw that they had much smaller class sizes, and I wanted that personal instruction for my daughter,” Hartley said. “If she’s having a problem with something, there’s enough time for her to walk up and work it out on the board in front of the teacher.”
McKibben said the school is in a position of having more applicants than it does spots available.
New families are filling out the Lake Tahoe School’s three middle school grades ” sixth, seventh and eighth ” McKibben said, grades which have traditionally been sparsely populated compared to its elementary school.
“I think that points to the local demand for educational choice,” McKibben said.