School in Stagecoach discussed

Informal meeting held to see if interest exists

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— Two Stagecoach moms have taken the first steps toward establishing a future elementary school in their neighborhood, though community desire and necessity for the school remain unknown.

Michelle Petix and Tracy Zuschlag held an informal meeting Wednesday night at the Morrison Creek Water and Sanitation building in Stagecoach, where a handful of attendees were asked about their interest in a Stagecoach school.

"I think it's still very preliminary at this point," Zuschlag said. "Officially, the ball got rolling last night."

Stagecoach children are bused to Soroco Elementary School in Yampa. The bus picks them up at 8 a.m. and drops them off at 4 p.m., Zuschlag said. That schedule makes it difficult for parents to find accommodating jobs, she said.

Zuschlag and Petix are putting together a survey for Stagecoach residents to determine the number of children living in the area and if the need and desire for a future school exists.

"We're kind of in this weird little space out here," Zuschlag said. Many Stagecoach residents want a post office, stores and churches, she said, but growth is needed to support those amenities.

South Routt School District Superintendent Steve Jones, who attended the meeting, said a couple of factors need to be addressed before the idea can move forward.

"One of the most important things is feasibility of numbers," Jones said. The school district needs to know there are enough children to justify a new school, he said.

"Facilities would be a challenge because, right now, we don't have any (in the Stagecoach area)," he said.

Jones said he is taking a cooperative approach to the school idea.

"If it is something that would allow Stagecoach to grow, it might be in the school district's best interest to check the feasibility of it," he said. "It's initial, but I think the school district needs to take a cooperative view on this."

Jones said he would inform the school board of the idea at Thursday's board meeting.

The reality of an elementary school in Stagecoach might be several years down the road, if at all, Zuschlag said. And while neither Zuschlag's nor Petix's children are old enough to attend school, it's never too early to look toward the future, she said.

"We're just taking baby steps," Zuschlag said. "Time will tell. We have to be very proactive thinking (about) what kind of future we want our children to have."

Interested Stagecoach residents are encouraged to call Petix at 736-2777 or Zuschlag at 736-0025.

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