Trustees consider closing Lahontan Valley High School

Months after the Churchill County School Board voted to keep Lahontan Valley High School open as an alternate choice for students, the decision will be reconsidered Wednesday night.

The district needs to find a way to cut $510,000 from its budget, and Superintendent Carolyn Ross recommends doing away with the alternative school altogether.

Under the proposal, teachers at LVHS would integrate into Churchill County High School, while principal Keith Boone would become an administrator at the location and work under Churchill County High School Principal Robbin Pedrett.

The old proposal called for the alternative school to be in a wing at the high school away from CCHS students. The current proposal would eliminate the alternative school.

Ross said there are teacher vacancies at the main high school that LVHS teachers would fill, and Ross added the move would save the district at least $200,000 in salaries and benefits. Each teacher earns about $56,000 a year, including benefits, and five of them could be moved to CCHS.

"We have unique opportunities to take the (LVHS) staff over there," she said. "Right now, we have jobs for everyone."

If the district were to wait, she said, the high school would have to fill the vacant positions, which would result in layoffs if the trustees decided to close the old high school at a later date.

"Circumstances have changed," Ross said. She added the district could not envision its funding being decreased by this amount.

"We now know different information. There may be more cuts to come," she said.

The superintendent met with Boone Friday morning to discuss the proposal the board will vote on next week. She has also spoken with Pedrett about the plan.

Ross directed Pedrett to hold off new teacher hirings until the school board makes its decision.

LVHS students, she said, would be provided with services they do not have at the alternative school site. The district, under the proposal, would hire someone to develop academic plans for those students transferring to CCHS.

Students, who had been expelled from the high school and are barred from the site, could take classes online, through adult education or independent studies.

Ross added there is no question the district will seek a high school principal for next year and wants to set the new hire up for success rather than worry about merging students from one school into the CCHS location.

Trustee Dave Ash, a big proponent of the alternative school, was asked to join Ross in supporting the closure of the site and school.

On Thursday, Ash said he wanted to know how the move would benefit each LVHS student before making up his mind.

"I am not going to do anything without talking to parents," he said. "I want to have the selling points. I want specifics."

Ross said Ash's concern focuses on the effect of students, and added the previous decision was based on the information the district had at the time.


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