Class divisions fuel furor over a plan to close college-prep academy in the eastern Sierra Nevada. ‘The situation has unleashed pandemonium,’ says the district’s superintendent.
When Eastern Sierra Unified School District Supt. Don Clark stared down a projected budget deficit, he did what school administrators across the nation have had to do: consider laying off teachers and closing campuses.
But that decision, in a rural district sprawled along U.S. 395 between the snowy Sierra and the deserts of Nevada, has exposed deep resentments between parents of students in traditional high schools and those with teenagers in a college-prep academy designed for high achievers.
The trouble started a week ago when Clark announced that the district, facing a budget shortfall of $1.8 million, was considering laying off more than a dozen teachers and closing the 15-year-old Eastern Sierra Academy, among other measures.