Saturday, February 17, 2001
SCHOOL SETBACKThis letter is from two north Routt residents with extensive experience in education. One of us (Dave) currently teaches at Colorado Mountain College. While we strongly support the North Routt Charter School, we do no have school-age children so we do not have a personal stake in this issue.
It was with a great deal of disappointment that we left the school board meeting on Jan. 29. While the school board gave conditional approval to the application and stated that it would like to see the proposed school succeed, the conditions attached to the approval clearly indicate otherwise.
By law, it had to provide the much-discussed 95 percent per-pupil funding ($145,000) to the charter school. As was accurately reported in Steamboat Today, the condition attached to this money was to only provide the funding as it was received, primarily from property taxes.
This means that the charter school will not receive most of its funding until March or April of next year while it plans to start school this fall. The school district does have reserves to run the other schools through the fall and winter months and should be able to support the students wherever they go to school.
Other charter schools received funding on a quarterly basis through the school year as was requested by the North Routt Charter School.
To make matters worse, the school board was unwilling to designate the potential $40,000 state "small attendance center" money for the charter school. Dr. (Cyndy) Simms readily admitted in response to Dave's question that this money was being received only as a result of the proposed charter school and that is was to make up for the additional cost of operating a small school. The charter school group will bear the operating costs and should be given the money. To keep it at the district level is unconscionable in our view and again shows the lack of sincere support for the charter school.
It was clear during the meeting that the RE-2 District was more concerned about enrollment and budget than it was about the impact of the long bus ride on young north Routt students. The bus ride problem has already contributed to more than 20 students in north Routt being home-schooled. The district is currently losing the per-student funding for these students and would not be any worse off if some of them came into the charter school. We had hoped the school board would take a broader view of the problem and would move beyond a focus on enrollment and budget. We were very disappointed when they did not.
To anyone in the community who is interested in this problem, we would appreciate you asking the school board members why they approved the charter for the north Routt School and yet did not support it with timely funding. In particular, they should be asked why the district should keep the "small attendance center" money rather than providing it to the proposed charter school.
David R. Moss, Ph.D.
Joni Moss, retired teacher
'APPALING' ARTICLEI am the driver of the bus that travels the Clark route and have been the driver for five years of my 25 years of driving with the Steamboat Springs School District. I was appalled at what Mr. Avi Salzman wrote about the bus. I feel like it was an insult towards my students and me by saying that the bus had a faint smell of urine mixed with the odor of Naugahyde seats. Old vinyl seats that have a Naugahyde odor and accusing students of not having good hygiene?
Needless to say I am very unhappy about the statement and feel like it was uncalled for because I take pride in my work and try to keep a clean bus and a good atmosphere for the students. Mr. Salzman just destroyed that in his statement about our bus.
"FRIENDS OF KUNC"You may have heard that our local public radio station, KUNC, may be sold by the University of Northern Colorado, who holds the FCC license, to Denver Public Radio, KCFR. KCFR in turn plans to fire the entire KUNC staff, eliminate diverse music programming and make our local public station all-news, all-talk all of the time. We were given 24-hours' notice to come up with a competing offer, nearly $2 million. That deadline has now been extended until Feb. 28, only two weeks away.
Anyone familiar with KUNC, either 88.5 or 90.7, knows about the quality programming that we will miss if the sale goes through. That is why a grass-roots fund-raising effort is under way to raise $1.3 million, since part of the $2 million price includes the $600,000 endowment that KUNC has raised through the years and will now pass to the new owner.
It is now time for anyone and everyone who cares about KUNC to step forward and donate whatever you can. All funds will be kept in a trust fund, and returned if we are are unsuccessful, but the loyal listeners of KUNC must act now! Please mail you tax deductible check to "Friends of KUNC," P.O. Box 5283, Greeley, CO, 80634. Also visit KUNC's Web site at www.KUNC.org where you can link to the "Friends of KUNC" web site, which will lead you to "What can you do?" where the names and addresses of the trustees of the University of Northern Colorado are listed who need to hear our opinion!
Thank you for your help! Every dollar to "Friends of KUNC" or letter to the trustees of UNC helps!