The future of Indian Valley schools

The future of Indian Valley schools: charter and district collaborate
Posted on 03/14/2024

In the two and a half years since the Dixie Fire, it has become clear that Indian Valley lacks the number of students required to support two elementary schools and two junior-senior high school programs. Plumas Charter School (PCS) and Plumas Unified School District (PUSD) have decided to compromise in order to provide sustainable programs to students and to best serve Indian Valley as the community rebuilds.

The agreement states that beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, for the term of eight years; PUSD will operate the elementary program at the Greenville Elementary School (GES) campus and discontinue operating the junior-senior high school program; Greenville High School (GHS). Similarly, PCS will discontinue operating their elementary program and will only operate their junior-senior high school; Indian Valley Academy (IVA) by renting the GHS facility from PUSD. 

The goal of the agreement is to eliminate competition between the schools, highlight each programs’ strengths and get the maximum use out of one of the few remaining buildings in the resilient town of Greenville. 

"This was not an easy decision for PUSD, as we honor and appreciate the 100+ years of tradition of the Greenville Schools. I appreciate the hard work of both PUSD and PCS, as well as their governing boards, who came together to do what is best for educating the students in Indian Valley,” said PUSD Superintendent, Bill Roderick.

Indian Valley Academy History:

In 2008, educator Sue Weber founded IVA as a private school to support the community in Indian Valley. The school operated independently for two years and then in 2010, IVA and its 35 sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students joined with PCS. At the time, PCS had been in operation for 12 years and their Greenville Learning Center site (GLC) was located in the “big yellow building” downtown.  Over the following years, the IVA program expanded to include high school students.

At the time, students in Indian Valley had two programs to choose from. PUSD operated GES and GHS while PCS operated the GLC for elementary and IVA for seventh through twelfth grade. PUSD’s schools offered traditional academic and sports programs, while PCS offered flexibility, personalized learning and different electives. Students and families had public-school choice. 

Discussions about closing GHS are not new to the community of Greenville, and in 2011, it was brought up again due to low student enrollment. To combine resources and support all students, IVA rented classrooms and moved onto the GHS campus in partnership with PUSD in the 2012-2013 school year. After five years of GHS and IVA coexisting on the same campus, though, the agreement between PUSD and PCS formally ended in 2017.

Going forward, the plan was for IVA to rent out PUSD’s vacant Taylorsville Elementary School campus. When that agreement also fell through, IVA moved into the commercial building in Taylorsville that the school has rented ever since. Due to the move and smaller space in the new building, IVA lost around 30 students and four staff members. The GLC elementary program, however, continued to gain attendance and was reinvigorated as a feeder program to IVA. 

COVID & The Dixie Fire: 

In 2020, PCS’s response to COVID and their ability to continue to offer on-site instruction led to another influx of  students at both IVA and the GLC. Student enrollment was strong and both programs were projected to grow. Then, weeks before the start of the 2021 school year, the Dixie Fire burned through Greenville and the building where the GLC resided was among the structures lost.

The charter elementary students that remained in Indian Valley found a temporary school home at the Gem and Mineral Museum Hall in Taylorsville. The school worked with the California Office of Emergency Services to secure portable classrooms and those were placed next to the IVA campus in Taylorsville. PCS has since purchased and now owns that building. The number of students that continued with the charter elementary program, though, was significantly lower and student numbers have remained stagnant since. 

PUSD’s schools in Greenville; GES and GHS were spared from the flames, but for safety reasons including smoke damage, students weren’t allowed to return to their campus for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year. The elementary program moved over to the vacant Taylorsville Elementary School and GHS closed down for the school year, leading to IVA picking up even more students. 

Students were invited back to both PUSD campuses at the beginning of the 2022 school year. Student enrollment numbers concluded that PUSD’s GES had the stronger elementary program while PCS’ IVA continued to have the stronger junior-senior high school program. These findings were taken into consideration as Roderick and PCS Executive Director, Taletha Wasburn, along with their boards entered into discussions. 

Washburn said that the biggest difference between this partnership and the partnership in the past is that this time, it is strictly a facility agreement and will not have competing programs. PCS is renting space from PUSD but will continue to have full-reign of IVA’s educational program. 


Prior to the fire, both schools held their own California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) membership and operated their own sports teams. Post-fire, with the significant loss of students in town, GHS and IVA formed a multi-school sports teams agreement in 2022. The goal was to provide the option to all students in Indian Valley to come together to play on the team regardless of which school they attended. 

Now, IVA site director Ryan Schramel has assumed the role of athletic director and PCS holds the CIF membership. Going into this agreement, sports will continue on the same campus. Sports fields, the gymnasium, weight room and locker rooms are all included in the rental agreement. The athletics program currently offers volleyball, football, flag football, basketball for both boys and girls, baseball, softball and coed golf. Schramel said he is looking forward to growing the program and expanding offerings in the years to come. 

2024-2025 School year begins eight-year facility partnership

PCS’s governing board voted unanimously in December, 2023 to adopt a resolution that aligns with the resolution approved by the governing board of PUSD at their November, 2023 board meeting. The following is the terms of the agreement.

PCS, operating IVA, will move onto the GHS campus for the term of eight years for the purpose of solely operating a program for grades seven through twelve, while PUSD will solely operate the TK through sixth-grade program. This agreement shall be subject to the terms and conditions agreed upon by the representatives of the parties concerned and shall be executed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

The finalized memorandum of understanding (MOU) and facility agreement was approved by PCS’s board of directors during their February, 2024 meeting and approved by PUSD’s board during their March, 2024 meeting. 

In the former GHS facility, IVA will continue to offer four days a week of onsite instruction and one day of independent study. IVA will utilize their current partnerships with colleges, industry leaders and educators to bring career and technical education opportunities to students. Some specialty areas of study include manufacturing and metal fabrication, agriscience, design, visual and media arts, food service, forestry and natural resources, outdoor recreation, healthcare, performing arts, public safety and software systems. 

For questions, please contact PUSD Superintendent, Bill Roderick at [email protected] and PCS Executive Director, Taletha Washburn at [email protected].

By Rachel Goings, Public Relations Specialist  [email protected]