Potential consolidation concerns Tahoe parents | RecordCourier.com

Potential consolidation concerns Tahoe parents

Kingsbury Middle School was sold by the Douglas County School District last year after being closed for a decade. Lake Tahoe parents are concerned the district is considering closing Zephyr Cove Elementary and consolidating the students at Whittell HIgh School.
Brad Coman


A survey of Tahoe parents is online at https://survey.k12insight.com/survey.aspx?k=SsQPSURsRXUsPsPsP&lang=0&data=

The departure of the principals of both Douglas County’s Lake Tahoe schools raised parents’ concerns about the future of education.

More than 100 parents packed a meeting on Monday night in preparation for Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Whittell Principal Crespin Esquival and Zephyr Cove principal Nancy Cauley are both leaving after this school year.

Lake Tahoe parents are concerned that means the district might consolidate the two schools into one building. Whittell already serves grades seven through 12.

Stateline resident Meagan Kelly said her 4-year-old triplets would be going to Zephyr Cove in the near future.

She told school board trustees she was concerned about declining enrollment at the schools.

Many parents said that they believe Douglas is losing students to South Lake Tahoe, where more services are available.

“People with older kids than mine have said this same issue has been brought up for the last decade, with little action by the district to understand why people are leaving for California schools,” Kelly said.

School Board trustee Tom Moore apologized that the Lake parents didn’t receive better information about what’s happening.

“There are no decisions being made,” he said.

He said that with the potential budget issues facing the district it might be time to look at how the schools are function.

“I think we need to develop a plan that must include community involvement,” Moore said. “Whatever discussions about what happens at the Lake must happen at the Lake.”

Board trustee Keith Bryer said enrollment numbers were down 20 percent at Zephyr Cove and 14 percent at Whittell.

“There is a common perception that this is a demographic issue,” he said. “I don’t believe the decline is entirely down to demographics.”

He asked board members to consider giving the schools a year to see if they can turn around enrollment.

“If we consolidate our schools at the Lake, we’ll lose another half of our population,” he said. “We got into a vicious cycle where the fewer kids we had, the less we offered, and the fewer kids we have.”