Sound Off for May 4, 2003

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Quite appalling

I just read the newspaper on Sunday April 27 and read the Sound Off on the Montessori school. Not only am I appalled at the Steamboat Springs School Board; I am appalled at your newspaper. You have slanted it in such a way that you have people believing that the Montessori school is a private school funded by public money. It is a public school using public money to teach public students. And I would love it if your newspaper could not be so slanted and not make it look like a private school that is publicly funded because that's not what it is. Could you please start printing the truth?

Not informed

Many of your Sound Off callers are uninformed about the Montessori charter school. It is a public school and enrollment is open to any child. There is no tuition for the elementary ages. Half-day kindergarten is no tuition. If you want full-day kindergarten, you pay for half a day. The only public funds this school will receive are the same per pupil dollars for each Montessori student that would have gone to Strawberry Park or Soda Creek. Nothing more for facilities or any other expense the school might have. And much of our budget is funded through grants and also through tuition paid by the preschoolers.

Key criteria

In a recent viewpoint you mentioned that the Montessori charter school, reduced class size, and the Spanish program all cost money. I agree with this assessment. However, a director of facilities, a director of food services, a director of transportation, a director of technology, a director of finance and a director of content standards all cost money as well. We are a school district of fewer than 2,000 children with only four schools. Do we really need all these positions? Many far more successful school districts in many other states do far better with much less administration. Why can't we empower our principals to handle much of this administration? It seems to me that we do have a fiscal crisis in our schools with talk about deficit spending. Since we have an opportunity to hire a new superintendent, shouldn't we make strong financial management, employee empowerment and employee relations three of the key criteria for hiring and find a superintendent that excels at these skills? Hopefully the board has the good sense to find one.

Afraid of finding no weapons?

The U.S. does not want the United Nations to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. One would assume the U.S. would demand the United Nations verify the presence of weapons of mass destruction to validate the U.S.'s prime reason for invasion. Since the administration has not done this, we can only assume that the U.S. is afraid of finding no weapons of mass destruction. Companies of Vice President Cheney and former Secretary Schultz have been handed prime reconstruction contracts. Should not the average American wonder at the motives of the current administration in the war against Iraq? Should we not wonder just how much of the Bush administration's rhetoric against Iraq has been out and out lies? How has it come to the point in the "world's greatest democracy" that the people can be so blatantly brainwashed to support the clearly private motives of an administration? Why do our congressional representatives allow this? Why do we citizens allow this?

Ban tubing in the city

Tubing should not be permitted at all on the publicly-owned Yampa River through town. The recent publicity at Dream Island spotlights the typical behavior of tubers -- giving the "finger' to residents along the shore, for example. One has to empathize with the residents of Fish Creek, Dream Island and Sleepy Bear Trailer Parks. Some have only river frontage for a touch of open space and privacy. City Council should do them and all of us a favor and ban tubing through the city limits.

A concerned parent

I am sending this e-mail as a concerned parent. Now that the Montessori charter school has been approved by the state of Colorado, I am concerned that the school district and its attorney are not eager enough to move through the contract. The school is going to be here. Why delay the process? I am urging you as parents and school board members to advise your attorney to work efficiently and smoothly with the Montessori Steering Committee's attorney. The only people who are going to be hurt by this delay are our children. Our children who want to enroll in Montessori next fall; our children who will enroll in Soda Creek and Strawberry Park next fall; and our children who have to sit at home with a babysitter while all of us are deliberating week after week over this at night. Let them have the opportunity of choice. Please, let's get this contract under way. Let the children come first.

A festering, dangerous eyesore

Lafarge is the right business in the wrong place. It is out of place. It will be a festering, dangerous eyesore off of narrow Colorado Highway 131 that will visually and chemically pollute the environment of South Routt County.

Support a charter school

I'd like to support the Montessori charter school. I feel the school district is acting from a position of power and not in the best interest of the children in the school district. I think this will be a step in the right direction of offering a different type of education for children here.

Key choices plan

I would just like to comment on the key choices plan. I don't think either the city or county planning departments really care what the people of this town think. And it only shows by having the deadline to submit the questionnaire during spring break and mud season when anybody with half a brain knows that people are not here. I think the key choices questionnaire should have been sent to every homeowner. I think it should have been published in the Steamboat Pilot & Today. I think that people should not have been required to go pick it up at the planning department. For anything to come of the key choices questionnaire, it really should have been made available to everyone in a reasonable time frame. This process reinforces in my mind that the city and the county don't really care what I think about the key choices.

Finalize the deal

I am appalled at our local School Board and the way the board has treated the Montessori charter school. The State Board of Education has made its ruling -- the Montessori school is to be approved. The school board needs to do its job and work quickly and diligently to finalize a contract with the Montessori school. The Montessori charter is a local public school and the children who will attend it are district students. The locally elected school board is supposed to take care of all district students, not just those they choose to support. The charter students are district students, and the School Board needs to do its job and ensure the education of these students.

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