Kurt Hildebrand

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February 14, 2014
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District sticking with two middle schools

Both Carson Valley’s middle schools will remain open under a plan approved by Douglas County School Board members on Tuesday.

A majority of residents, parents, employees and even students thought keeping Carson Valley and Pau-Wa-Lu middle schools open after ninth-graders leave for the high school was the best plan.

“I don’t know what you consider statistically significant,” Superintendent Lisa Noonan said. “But people were overwhelmingly in support of keeping both middle schools open.”

Noonan said 757 people participated in an online survey, with 93 percent of parents, 92 percent of employees, 83 percent of community members and 74 percent of students voting to keep both schools.

All of Carson Valley Middle School’s staff members agreed with keeping the two middle schools open.

Douglas County has one middle school for sale after closing Kingsbury.

With the freshman class moving back to Douglas High School in 2015 after 20 years at the middle schools, a third of the middle schools’ students will be leaving.

Plans for what to do with the additional space range from moving the sixth-graders to the middle school to exploring magnet school concepts.

Picking a school to close is problematic.

The newer school, Pau-Wa-Lu, is on the south end of the Gardnerville Ranchos. Carson Valley Middle School, which began life as an extension of old Douglas County High School, is far older, but more centrally located.

“I’m in favor of keeping both schools open,” Trustee Ross Chichester said. “It’s too long a bus ride from Jacks Valley to Pau-Wa-Lu.”

Support for what to do with the schools once the ninth-graders leave was more evenly split, with slightly more people favoring moving the sixth grades into the two schools over just moving the Ranchos sixth-graders into Pau-Wa-Lu.

Noonan said there’s work that could be conducted to improve Carson Valley Middle School while it houses just two grades.

She said that in any case, sixth-graders said they wanted their own wing of the school.

An option that would leave just two grades at the middle schools was a more distant third option from the survey.

Board members said they wanted to have more time to explore options for the middle schools, but they definitely want to keep them both open.

Work begins this summer to expand Douglas High School so the ninth-graders can return. They were moved to the middle schools in 1994 after Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School opened in an effort to handle rapid student enrollment growth.

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 14, 2014 08:36AM Published Feb 14, 2014 08:38AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.