The Lincoln County School District board met July 18. The meeting started off with public comment focused on two main points: concern about transportation of kids from schools around the county to Pioche, and whether or not Pioche Elementary is capable of working with such a large influx of students.

These concerns stemmed from the meeting’s biggest discussion, revolving around opening seventh and eighth grade classes at Pioche so the school can continue the Summit Learning program it has been piloting since the beginning of last year. If this occurred, the program would then be open to anyone in the county. This would require more bus routes and logistical changes.

Two board members saw a great advantage in continuing the program, stating that Summit Learning is a new and innovative change to the curriculum which incorporates technological advances that can’t be ignored. There was also mention of parents that want to see the program move forward, as well as concerns that returning to standard curriculum would undo everything achieved with Summit.

The rest of the board disagreed, asking how this action was logistically feasible and why funds should go to the new program instead of to students. They also didn’t want to see seventh and eighth graders remaining in elementary school while their fellow students moved on to middle school.

After a vote, the request to continue the program in Pioche was denied. However, the board was very open to the possibility of bringing the program to Meadow Valley Middle School in the future.

Other highlights from the meeting included reporting on job openings in schools around the county. Lincoln County High School was forced to table two job openings for math and science teachers due to a lack of qualified applicants. This was also the case with the hospitality management position at C.O. Bastian. Pahranagat Valley Elementary School hired a pre-K teacher, Tiffany Lytle, and a paraprofessional, Natasha Stout, for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The board also took time to mourn the passing of a longtime friend to the school district, Richard Barr, who drove buses for the district and was a great help in many capacities.

Finally, the board announced that Pahranagat Valley Elementary principal Brian Higbee will delay his retirement from the school district.