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Talk of closing school worries parents

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District wants to clear the confusion about the possible closure of Meyers Elementary School if enrollment continues to decline.

On Thursday, Beth Delacour, the director of human resources for Lake Tahoe Unified School District, reported that continued declining enrollment at the school could lead to possibly closing the facility.

Closing Meyers, or a different elementary school, is one option if the district finds decreased student numbers before the start of next school year, said Diane Scheerhorn, superintendent of the district.

Other options include reconfiguring the grade levels of elementary schools or removing portable classrooms.

“It all depends on enrollment,” Scheerhorn said. “Hopefully we won’t have to do any of them.”

The school has lost 120 students over several years, which reflects the district being in the midst of a five-year span of declining enrollment.

If enrollment does drop next fall, the district will hold community forums to gather information and discuss options with the public. A decision could be reached by the middle of next school year and would be effective for the 2003-04 school year, or possibly the year after that, Scheerhorn said.

Meyers school officials and parents were surprised to hear that Meyers could be an option for closing. If the school was chosen for closure, for example, transportation of students from the top of Echo Summit or the end of Christmas Valley to a school inside city limits would increase traffic.

“What I heard was they may consider in the future closing a school, but never to an extent that Meyers would be the school,” said Doug Forte, principal at Meyers. “We were never told that was going to happen.”

Forte is encouraged by the preliminary signs of kindergarten enrollment for next year. It is the same or slightly higher than it was last year, he said.

Carry Loomis, 35, enrolled her daughter in kindergarten last year. She is a concerned parent of a Meyers first-grader.

“I think people need to be aware there is declining enrollment in the district,” she said. “My concern is for a school not to close at all. Instead of closing any school, let’s get together as a community and figure out what’s best for our children in Lake Tahoe.”


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