Agreement would allow Whittell students to take South Tahoe High School classes |

Agreement would allow Whittell students to take South Tahoe High School classes

Jack Barnwell

Under a proposed agreement with Lake Tahoe Unified School District, students at George Whittell High School may have the opportunity to take classes at South Tahoe High School.

The agreement, still in its early stages, would allow Whittell students access to electives not offered at the Douglas County school during the 2016-2017 school year, according to LTUSD Superintendent Jim Tarwater.

“It would be a benefit to kids in terms of allowing them to take some more Advanced Placement and career tech ed classes,” Tarwater said.

Both Tarwater and recently retired Douglas County School District Superintendent Lisa Noonan have been the driving force behind the possible agreement. Tarwater said the idea came from a Douglas County outreach group, which had concerns about the lack of courses offered at Whittell.

The agreement would only be for grades nine through 12 at Whitell, not its seventh- and eight-grade students.

Whittell has a small student population, something Teri White, DCSD’s current superintendent, said affects the types of courses the high school can offer. White called the agreement a positive thing for both sides.

“What we are hoping to do is provide some opportunity for our students to participate in the electives,” White said. “It would be opportunity for juniors and seniors who might be looking for selective-type courses we can’t offer because of the small size.”

Those courses include foreign language and career technical education programs like sports medicine and auto mechanics, something Tarwater said would give students a competitive edge when they prepare for college and a career.

“You want to give them as best a chance as possible,” Tarwater said.

The idea was initially broader, but White said it’s been narrowed down over the years.

Because Whittell is in Nevada, students taking classes in California would have to pay out-of-district tuition under state law. Douglas County students sometimes enroll in LTUSD schools at $5,212 for the year. Tarwater said the cost would be prorated to the cost of one class. However, he stressed that state boundaries shouldn’t matter when it comes to education.

“The way we look at it is that they are all our kids,” Tarwater said. “To us the entire area is South Tahoe.”

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