by Jim Croley
1 Minute Overview
This initiative from the Invest in Incline Advocacy Network is focused on the Washoe County School District’s proposal to change the way school closures are addressed and to close the Incline Middle School and move it in with Incline High School or the Grade School. This is the second update on this initiative.
Middle School Update
As with every multi-faceted subject, “news” is never as complete as we’d like; there are always open questions. However, there is some good news: WCSD has informed the IMS staff that the school building will be open through the 2024/2025 school year. Unfortunately, based on some well founded rumors, and despite the objections of many in the community, it is still possible that the Middle School will ultimately be moved into either the Grade School or the High School buildings. Most likely, the Grade School building.
We don’t know for sure what will happen next. However, I believe we should take this as an opportunity to find whatever common ground with Washoe County School District leadership we can. Instead of continuing the path of anger and fighting, it’s possible we could take that same energy and focus it on finding the best possible outcome. I believe what our community really wants is the a high quality educational experience and outcome for our 6-8 grade students. WCSD leadership would agree with that same goal. Are there differences in how best to achieve that? Of course. But is it possible for us to find a way to work together, to collaborate, to find the best possible solutions given the mix of preferences and realities?
We are really near the beginning of this journey. We know little for certain, but the public meetings have demonstrated that we care. I’m suggesting we focus our caring on working toward the best possible outcome, and I believe that will only come through productive collaboration. Clearly WCSD has work to do to build trust, and they can do that by listening closely to our community members, staff, and parents about their concerns and their objectives, rather than being defensive and reactive. Personally, I’m looking forward to finding a way our community can organize ourselves to focus on a) identifying the issues and opportunities, and b) exploring all the viable options, including one that keeps the Middle School where it is. We will need to work with WCSD to do that.
The following is the original article from Issue Number 3
WCSD proposed policy change for School Closures (#7087)
WCSD wants to GREATLY DIMINISH local input and control over possible school closures. This policy change was proposed and put out for public comment on 4/5/23. Based on public feedback, the decision to adopt was delayed. It’s back, with no substantive change, and out for public comment again. This is bad for every community, but especially here in Incline where WCSD is still considering closing the middle school. The details can be found on the WCSD website: https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/3928
This proposal is a blow to local autonomy. It would substantially reduce the ability of Incline Village and Crystal Bay residents, parents, and educators to have a say in how and where the children in our community are educated in our local public schools. No matter how you might feel about public education or the schools in IV, or whether you have kids in school or not: you should be outraged at this effort to undermine local participation in these decisions.
Call to action:
Let your voice be heard. Submit an email comment by THIS MONDAY, 6/5/23, at 5:00, to: Policy@washoeschools.net
To participate in this initiative, and receive further information via email about this issue, you must complete the form at the end of this post, which will also subscribe you to the Invest in Incline Newsletter. Check the tick box labeled ‘Schools’. If you have already completed this form in the past, you will still receive only one copy of the Newsletter. Your email address will not be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Sample letter to WCSD related to change in school closure policy.
Note- it is always best to personalize these emails with your own perspectives and your experiences with the local schools, etc.:
Subject Line: Proposed Regulation 7087
To the Staff and Board of Trustees of the WCSB:
I am concerned about the proposed changes to Administrative Regulation 7087. A major strength of former Administrative Regulation 7086 was that this regulation assured substantial community input from by the residents, parents, and educators impacted by a proposed school closure. I recommend the following:
• Section 2 be modified to revert back to the old policy (7086) creating a committee for each specific school closure, and that the membership of the committee be appointed to maintain and ensure on local community representation.
• Section 2b be modified to require the that public meetings on proposed school closures be held at the school (or at least in the neighborhood) impacted.
For context, I live in Incline Village where I can see the potential negative impact the proposed policy could have in my community…..
Thanks for your consideration.
As a reminder, the old policy includes creating an ad hoc committee to evaluate a specific school closure. That committee is made up of mostly local people:
“The committee shall be made up of a minimum of 11 members including; 2 parents (1 from the school), 2 teachers (1 from the school), 2 community members, 2 district administrators (the school’s Principal), the school’s Area Superintendent, 1 member from the school’s Neighborhood Advisory Board or Citizens Advisory Board and 1 public official in the local government within which the school resides (City of Reno, City of Sparks or Unincorporated Washoe County). The Area Superintendent of the school proposed for closure shall serve as the facilitator of the committee. “
The proposed new policy uses a standing “Zoning Advisory Committee” who evaluates all school building changes, and now will include school closures. This committee is composed of district-wide people who will evaluate all closures, with no local representation.
The voting membership of the Zoning Advisory Committee would consist of thirteen (13) members as follows:
• Seven (7) members – one (1) selected by each member of the Board of Trustees, representing the election district of the Trustees
• Three (3) Parent/Guardian or other Community members selected through the District’s application process
• Three (3) School Site Staff Members selected through the District’s application process
o One (1) School Administrator
o One (1) Certified Teacher/Counselor
o One (1) Educational Support Staff Member
Hot Off the Presses: On June 2, 2023 the WCSD released a set of Questions and Answers in response to the two meetings held at Incline High School in April. This Q&A can be found at https://www.washoeschools.net/cms/lib/NV01912265/Centricity/ModuleInstance/50752/Final%20FAQ%20sheet.pdf
Among other answers provided, this document explains: why IV/CB property taxes deliver some $16M to the School District and receive only about $3M back in support of Incline schools (the state equalization formula); the ‘real’ timeline for the Facility Modernization Plan process; the fact that enrollment projections are being reconsidered based on community input; and a discussion about the deed restrictions for the Middle School property. This is a must read for those interested in these issues.
Additional Information and References
If you are interested in learning more about these issues please read the source materials by following the links below.
Existing School ClosurePolicy – Link
Proposed New School Closure Policy – Link
School Board Meeting Minutes 9/27/22 approving CannonDesign project – Link
12/1 & 12/13/22 Presentation to School Board from CannonDesign – Link
Details and History of the FMP presented at the 12/13/22 Board Meeting – Link
Details about Incline Elementary School – Link
Details about Incline Middle School – Link
Details about Incline High School – Link