Incline Village Middle School (Potential) Closure

As I pull into the Incline High School parking lot with a respectable 15 minutes to spare before the public meeting, I realize that I am already way too late…

Ignoring the red paint on the curb that is just starting to appear from under the snow, I park my car and walk into a packed cafeteria which is now filled with concerned parents and community members. We were all there to answer the same question; why would Washoe County close our Middle School?

The evening began fairly benign with small talk, some pizza, and a bit of nervous laughter. However, once the timer to start the meeting struck zero, all (you know what) broke loose. The plan was for the consulting firm hired by the Washoe County School District to present the issues and proposed options to address the lack of enrollment in Incline Village Middle School to the community, followed by open discussion and a “live poll”. However, the Incline Village Community and its outspoken members would have other plans entirely…

From the beginning, there was extreme resistance to the proposal despite the ideas being firmly rooted in the “idea” stage with no hard decisions being made at this point. This was initially caused by a timeline presented in the slideshow that showed that we were already halfway through the “process” while most community members were just now learning about the proposal. This spurred an intense exchange about the mistrust between the Incline Village community and not only the Washoe County School District but the Washoe County Administration at large. It was an underlying theme and long-held belief that our local and substantial tax contribution for Washoe County ($19M+ per year by some estimates) should result in more allocations for our schools; not less. The proposed school closure in order to save money was regarded as a slap in the face for parents and teachers who have worked extremely hard to make our schools #1 in the state of Nevada.

Eventually, the two options for our schools were presented. Option A leaves operations “as-is” with no new changes. Option B is the closure of Incline Middle School by moving 6th graders to the Elementary School and the 7th and 8th grades being moved into the High School. Option C was a blank space printed on paper the size of a dining room table for “us” to fill in. As you can imagine, we had problems with that…

Without a single voice speaking in favor of the proposal, the microphone was passed around the room as speaker after speaker voiced their concerns. A few of the most popular opinions (among many) are as follows:


-Merging 12-13 year olds with 17-18 year olds is an issue due to:


     -Drug Use

     -Social Anxiety


     -Sexual Misconduct

     -Lack of support/safety


-The existing facilities of the High and Elementary Schools do not have the physical space accommodate the additional students. (Coverage and TRPA were foreign words to the presenters).

-Sports are already stretched thin for practice facilities.

-The plan to modernize school buildings in the district in order to provide more “sunlight and natural space” doesn’t apply to our schools as we already exist in natural and clean environment with substantial access to pristine outdoor areas.

-There are not enough classrooms or physical space to accommodate the increase in students.

-There is no way to properly physically separate the two groups of students which has been a key element in the success of other “merged” schools.

-There have been no studies or surveys done regarding the impact of merging younger students into a high school environment.

-There were few (if any) surveys or interviews conducted with local teachers, staff, students or parents regarded the proposed change.

-Despite the High School Counselor proclaiming that she has seen over 200 students in her office the last month, there are no plans or funding to address the mental health of the students.

-Pick up and drop off will be a nightmare with the increase in student volume.

-Special needs and other programs may be lost due to a lack of facilities.

-There is a massive bloom in the youngest demographic which will cycle into the schools within the next 5 years and have not been addressed or considered in the long term plans.

-What will happen to the Middle School building with rumors of a wealthy buyer already in place?

-Despite massive opposition and community outcry to previous Washoe County proposals and decisions, those projects moved forward regardless. Will this one be any different?


In summary, it was extremely encouraging to see the passion and dedication that our community has for its children and their future. Washoe County was not prepared or equipped to respond to the criticism and the community was left with more questions than answers. We do know one thing; we want to keep our schools! The best way to have your opinion heard is to email with your support or opposition.

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