Norm Nicholls: It’s time for Little League and budget cuts |

Norm Nicholls: It’s time for Little League and budget cuts

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Wednesday columnist
By Norm and Alan Nicholls

Play ball … Did you wonder why the temperatures dropped and we had snow again last week? Because it was opening weekend for Truckee Little League. As sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, opening day normally brings inclement weather.

At 8 a.m. sharp on Saturday morning, with 33 degree temperatures, old Engine No. 1pulled out of the old Sierra Mountain Middle Schol parking lot leading trucks and floats filled with boys and girls ready to start this year’s season. Parents, relatives, friends and neighbors lined the parade route from SMM to downtown and back. There were cheers and screams of encouragement for this latest group of kids who will be playing baseball this year.

Unlike when Alan played and I coached, the new leaders of Little League are much smarter and after the parade they celebrated opening day ceremonies “inside” the high school. Back in our day opening ceremonies were held at Regional Park. There were a good number of times when everyone was standing in some measurable snow, said the Pledge of Allegiance, recited the Little League Creed and heard the first call of “play ball” for the season.

Who’s on first? … I imagine other people in our community are about as confused as I when we were led to believe that the school board meetings in Truckee (Tuesday night) and in Tahoe City (Wednesday night) had to do with budget cuts. I guess what was resolved as to district school reconfigurations had something to do with it.

There was no coverage on either Channel 6 or Channel 24 and yet there was nothing other than still screen advertising on those channels both nights. Had the meetings been broadcast over a cable channel a lot more interested people would have watched. Shame on somebody!

I did watch on live streaming video on the website only because a school administrator friend of mine told me about the broadcast. Watching these meetings hour after hour on my small lap top screen left a lot to be desired.

The decision to keep all of the “currently used” district schools open next year surprised me. I was also surprised, at the conclusion of Wednesday night’s meeting, that staff was so optimistic about receiving and apparently “finding” additional funds to help reduce next year’s deficit, and the number of staff and teacher layoffs. I hope that all their assumptions are correct and the money will be available.

I urge the trustees of the school board and the school administrators to be very careful in planning for future years and to look at projections of our tax base very cautiously.

At the moment, new home construction and sales of lots are just about nonexistent. Although home and condo sales are taking place, a good number of these properties are “short sales” or “bank owned” property sales. These type of sales result in homes selling for less than the property’s original “taxable” value. For example, a home that was purchased for $500,000 three years ago may sell for $400,000. The tax collected before was based upon a value of $500,000 the new tax base for this home will be based upon $400,000.

Also I believe that an increasing number of savvy home owners who purchased their homes during the “peak” of the market will be seeking a reassessment of their property value, resulting in another source of tax reduction. This is legal under Prop 13 and you may wish to look into this for yourself.

As to reconfiguration, I urge everyone who will be involved to work together to make this transition as smooth as possible.

In the 1980s there was a reconfiguration of Truckee schools with Truckee Elementary being K-3; Sierra Mountain 4-6; and Truckee High School 7-12. Alan was in the first seventh-grade class to enter Truckee High School and admittedly a lot of parents, including Alice and I, were concerned about their middle school kids mixing with the high school kids. Thanks to good planning, and things like different bus and bell schedules, the plan worked.

The only encounter that Alan had during his seven years at the high school was when he was “trashed” in a hallway trash can on his first day at Truckee High School … by his older sister, Christy, and her friends. He survived just fine.

Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee.

Last week’s question: Avid golfer Gordy Kjer was the first player to correctly identify Fred Elliott as the former Tahoe Donner golf pro who is currently the head teaching pro at “Rosewood Lake” golf course in Reno. Other players included Shirley Reynolds, Marilyn Colquhoun, Steve Marshman, and Mary De Lisle.

This week’s question: Who was the principal at Truckee Elementary School prior to Cathy Valle? Call us at (530) 550-5035 or e-mail us at

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