Incline residents left wanting answers after second meeting with Washoe County School District

Incline High School Duffield Theater was packed with those hoping to learn more about Incline Middle School's fate.
Miranda Jacobson, Tahoe Daily Tribune

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline Village residents were invited to a second meeting with representatives from Washoe County School District on Wednesday, May 3, to discuss possible changes to local schools, but many were left with more questions than answers. 

The meeting was run by WCSD Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, Board of Trustees President Elizabeth Smith, and Vice President Diane Nicolet, who wanted to hear concerns and ideas from residents in order to get a better understanding of what the community wants. 

“This clearly is a special community as evidenced by how much you love your community and your schools,” said Enfield. “That’s clear … We would expect nothing less than for you to care deeply and have strong emotions in any conversation that involves what is going on.” 

The meeting was run by Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, WCSD Board of Trustees Vice President Diane Nicolet, and President Elizabeth Smith.
Miranda Jacobson, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The need for a second meeting arose following a tense first meeting run by WCSD and representatives from CannonDesigns, who previously presented at Incline High School with two options: do nothing to the schools and continue running them as is, or, close Incline Middle School, consolidating grades 7-8 to Incline High School and grade 6 to Incline Elementary School. 

The district said no decisions have been made yet, and explained that they are early in the process of getting community feedback before a final decision is made by the board in 2024. 

One problem that many residents of Incline Village had was the data presented by CannonDesigns that suggested there would be a continual decline in enrollment at Incline Middle School, even though many residents pointed out there are long wait lists for preschools all over the North Shore. 

“Some of the things I’ve heard from some of you is that in this particular area, some people are saying, ‘Look, we’ve actually got points to show that we have a booming population,'” Enfield said. “We are happy to take that data.”

The demographer, who gives the district projections on enrollment, projected that Incline Middle School enrollment is expected to decline, but they might not have all the information necessary to come to that conclusion. 

“I think clearly we need to share more data with the demographer and have a conversation with them demographer as well to share what he’s looking at to make sure that we get a full picture,” Enfield said. 

Multiple signs advocating to save Incline Middle School hung around the theater in English and Spanish.
Miranda Jacobson, Tahoe Daily Tribune

While many questions were asked throughout the meeting, including if there was a contingency plan if enrollment were to hike up again following the closure of the school, very few were answered. 

Enfield announced that all questions asked were being recorded and written down by the district, who would then go back to create a fact sheet to answer many of the questions that were asked throughout the previous two meetings. 

“I can speak for myself,” said Nicolet. “I do not want to make that decision without a thorough, deep dive into what is and what could be. And we can do that together. We can’t do it without you and we need you. So what’s going to come next is a fact sheet, because the Incline community asked many excellent questions and it wasn’t the time previously to answer them.” 

There was only one hour allotted for questions for the meeting due to a virtual strategic planning community forum that was happening following the meeting. 

“The reality is that there’s a need for more conversation, and I promise you we will have more conversation,” said Enfield. “That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to pull together as much information, we’ll also gather as much information from the community as possible and factor that in.” 

There was no timeline announced on when the FAQ page would be released to Incline Village residents. 

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