Parents pack meeting to protest school closure |

Parents pack meeting to protest school closure

Teri Vance

Although it was not on the evening’s agenda about 250 parents, teachers and students attended Tuesday’s Lyon County School Board meeting to protest the possible closure of two schools in the district.

Trustees echoed their sentiment.

“Something is wrong if we’re talking about closing schools to reach the governor’s budget,” said board member Charles Shirley. “We as the school board are elected to oversee the operations of the school district. It’s not our job to balance the budget for the governor or the Legislature. I’m just done.”

The board refused to take any action on proposals to close Riverview Elementary and Silver Stage Middle schools at the March 15 budget planning meeting in anticipation of $4.5 million in cuts proposed in the governor’s budget.

Instead the board will decide on three possible scenarios in anticipation of the state’s final budget at its March 29 meeting.

Plan “A” would prepare for $4.5 million cuts. Plan “B” would cut $3.5 million from the budget, and Plan “C” would forecast a $2.5 million reduction.

Closing the schools would likely only be considered in Plan “A.”

Joe Reynolds, father and senior deputy district attorney of Lyon County, urged the board not to consider the option at all.

“To close this school would be a death note to this area,” he said. “Closing the schools is not leadership. It’s a plan for failure. I ask this board to be innovative, be visionary. Please find a way to keep this school open.”

Mother Nikki Miklich urged the board to cut any superfluous spending.

“We’ve seen in recent events when the ground shakes, if buildings are built on solid ground, they will stand,” she said. “We need to make sure our school district is built on a solid foundation.”

She pointed to financial statements where the district paid $1,000 hotel bills or bought pizza or other food.

“How does that save our schools if we are not careful with our expenditures?” she asked. “Our community is willing to sacrifice, but we have to know our school district is built on a solid foundation and that we are careful stewards of our money.”

Others urged the board to evaluate positions at the district level before looking into getting rid of teachers and to consider cutting when it comes to textbook adoptions or other areas.

They pointed out that Riverview Elementary School is the newest and most efficient school in Dayton and the only one to have made Adequate Yearly Progress last year.

Glenn Hammond said her autistic son, after going to school for four years, is finally starting to adjust. If the school is consolidated into Dayton and Sutro elementary schools, she worries he’ll have trouble adjusting.

“The bigger the classroom, the harder it is for him to learn,” she said. “If we lose this school, it is going to be severely detrimental to him.”

Christy McGill, a mother and business owner, told fellow parents they needed to join forces and approach the Legislature about increasing taxes.

“I want to have all of us join together and contact our leaders about revenue generation,” she said. “If it means I have to pay higher taxes to have better education for my children, I’d gladly do it. The power is in our hands.”

Trustee James Huckaby thanked the dozens of people who spoke.

“These are some good ideas,” he said. “Let’s get on the Legislature together. They let us down.”