Board delays school closure decision |

Board delays school closure decision

William Ferchland, Tribune staff writer

A vote on whether to close a Lake Tahoe Unified School District elementary site for the 2004-05 school year will be pushed to next month.

Instead, Thursday’s meeting will be a workshop to gather more iinformation on the issue.

Doug Forte, who gathered the most votes in November’s school board election, remains weak but out of the hospital. He didn’t attend last week’s inaugural meeting of the new board but made an appearance at Monday’s meeting where he was officially sworn in.

“I got chewed out by my home health care nurse,” he said at home. “The last thing I need to have happen is to get sick. They may do a conference call and include me in the (Thursday) meeting and I’m certainly open to that. If I get the flu, that’s a virus and that’s going to run its course and I’ll wind up in the hospital again.”

Forte was recently released from Barton Memorial Hospital where he was treated for a staphylococcus infection. He checked himself in before Thanksgiving. His illness arrived after the unexpected death of his wife, Daphne, who helped campaign for her husband.

“I’ve got some catching up to do because I’ve been out of the loop for almost six weeks with the passing of my wife and the illness,” he said. “I’m not up to par with them, but I feel I can be. Many of those members are especially good about sending me stuff and I can call and ask questions.”

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Tuesday’s workshop was a refresher course covering finance, test scores and human resources. Two plans are being made: one if a parcel tax ballot measure passes and another if it doesn’t.

A possible school closure is part of both plans, although there is a six-year financial projection with a parcel tax that doesn’t involve a closure.

The district is facing a $1.5 million shortfall for next school year and is forecasting a steady loss of 150 students in the upcoming years. The district has $624,000 ready to carry over for next school year.

“This was strategically saved,” said Assistant Superintendent Barbara Davis.

Thursday’s meeting was scheduled in the fall and marked the date for a vote on a school closure, or possibly two. It was also meant to make crucial decisions for next year, such as modifying alternative education or adding a charter school.

Forte said he preferred the board wait until he is strong enough to attend meetings.

In other news:

n The first “nay” vote in more than two years for the LTUSD board arrived last week when board member Madeline Fernald wanted the board president position. Wendy David, who along with Fernald were not up for re-election, got the backing.

The dissenting vote only created an uncomfortable situation and not a rift among board members.

– E-mail William Ferchland at