Our View: Expanding education

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Editorial Board, May 2008 to August 2008

  • Bryna Larsen, publisher
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Mike Lawrence, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Eric Morris, community representative
  • Paul Draper, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

When the 2008-09 school year begins, all three Routt County school districts will likely have new leaders at the helm. While the trio of new superintendents will likely require some acclimatization - the air is thin up here - the changing guard also presents an opportunity for increased collaboration between Hayden, South Routt and Steamboat Springs schools.

After South Routt Superintendent Kelly Reed announced his resignation earlier this month, South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan spoke of that opportunity.

"I see us, as a school district, entering into a new era of cooperation with the surrounding school districts," he said. "An era where we're really going to be regionalizing educational opportunities, K through 12."

That era already has started.

Hayden High School industrial arts teacher Kevin Kleckler has been named the first director of the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center, an 8,400-square-foot addition to the high school's existing vocational facility. Kleckler said the center, being built by Fox Construction, will be ready for Routt County and Craig students in August. The center will offer classes including welding, auto body repair, automotive mechanics, heavy equipment operation, drafting and building trades.

Kleckler said high school students from regional schools could travel to the center for a half-day, or even full day, of vocational classes while still enrolled in their hometown or chosen high school.

Kleckler said the center could be funded at least in part by shares of state per-pupil operating revenue. For example, if a Steamboat student spends half-days throughout the school year at the vocational center, Kleckler said, the center would receive half of that student's per-pupil revenue.

That's a touchy point. School districts depend on per-pupil state funding, and losing those dollars to Hayden's new vocational center could create concerns. Such discussions, associated with what some call "territorialism," stalled collaborations toward a regional vocational center that began more than two years ago.

Although the funding issue has yet to play out, we support the idea behind it: namely, the expansion of vocational instruction that will create an invaluable option for many students.

Skilled-labor jobs don't require degrees and often pay significantly better than jobs in the service and retail sectors. With skilled job training, more of our young people could remain in the valley, earning the kind of money needed to live here comfortably.

And the vocational center is not just for teenagers. Adults could eventually take evening courses, as well.

Kleckler said he plans to approach Steamboat's Education Fund Board to help raise the additional $300,000 he said still is needed to fully outfit the center. A Hayden committee already has raised $1.25 million for the facility with vast support from local businesses, individuals and state grants.

Such a request could fit with the Fund Board's new regional outlook. Last month, Fund Board members expressed strong support for asking Steamboat voters in November to not only renew the city's half-cent sales tax, but also to approve sharing those revenues with Hayden and South Routt schools.

As soon as next winter, then, we could see Routt County's three school districts sharing revenues and resources more than ever before. We hope the new superintendents embrace and develop those opportunities, for the benefit of our students and our entire valley.

Comments

bcpow 6 years, 7 months ago

Thankyou Hayden for seeing the reality of this valley and our educational system. BUT...what is the point of 3 sups if there is a total student population of maybe 3000 kids? Quick way to save a half million dollars; Have 1 sup and support staff for the county. Of course that will never happen because each town can't stand each other, Steamboat will just assume that Hayden and SOROCO should be the ones to go and I haven't had time to establish my under-miners on each board yet. Give me another decade and I might have something to report back about.

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Bog 6 years, 7 months ago

I have lived in Hayden and have heard many ocal people and from Oak Creek state their dislike for anything Steamboat, yet they want Steamboat's money. Sorry, can't have it both ways.

Bcpow's idea makes sense, one superintendent and district administration for the valley, guarantees collaboration and sharing of resources. Let's share personnel, facilities and resources to benefit all of the schools in the Yampa Valley.

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Russell Orms 6 years, 7 months ago

In my opinion we should not share a tax that was proposed and approved as a CITY tax with the other school districts. The arguments that they need the money or that they buy goods in Steamboat is completely irrelevant. People from all over the country buy in Steamboat and we dont refund a portion of the tax to their school districts. It was proposed and voted on as a CITY tax not a regional tax. The other cities asking for money dont even have their own city tax to help themselves. Very disingenous.

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id04sp 6 years, 7 months ago

My high school principal had over 1000 students to watch over. why do you need a super for 1000 kids?

Make fluency in Russian and Spanish a requirement, and then maybe you can justify paying a super to have "special skills" that the district cannot do without.

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justathought 6 years, 7 months ago

Right on alpha, and while your keeping your CITY tax, those of us without children in school should not have to pay taxes for your kids to go to school! Let's make sure this is completely fair, let those of us without school aged kids vote to let those of you that have them pay your own way and quit taxing us. We can spend our tax saving to support whatever community we want and you won't have to worry about sharing anything with anyone. Sounds fair to me!

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Russell Orms 6 years, 7 months ago

justanonthought- presumtive judgements often leave you short. I have no children but voted in favor of ed tax because I believe it is an important obligation of society. I also vote in favor of police, fire depts etc. even though I have not been the victim of a felony or had my house burn down. If you have a question ask first then fire away.

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bloggyblog 6 years, 7 months ago

alphadog, blog would like to point out that the vast majority of our city sales tax is generated by tourist. many of the people who work in steamboat in the tourist industy live in our neighboring towns. they work the jobs that, while essential to our economic prosperity, don't pay enough to allow them to live in steamboat. in blogs opinion, we would be 'up the creek' without our neighboring communities and should should show appreciation and share the wealth.

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justathought 6 years, 6 months ago

alldog, sorry you took it personal, I was and am using "you" and "your" figuratively. I have no questions of you, I see you believe ed tax is an important obligation of society but you don't want to share so it's not society in general, it's just that part of society that you want to support. Personally, I believe in ed tax for the years that government says you have to attend school, 1st grade until age 16, I'll even support finishing high school but after that I do not believe it's up to society to educate "your" kids. It's time people take responsibility for themselves and their kids and quit expecting help from society. If I'm obligated to help, I should have a say as to how many kids "you" can have, which I don't. If "you" can't afford to feed, clothe and educated "your" kids, try birth control!

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SilverSpoon 6 years, 6 months ago

"I'll even support finishing high school but after that I do not believe it's up to society to educate "your" kids"

Teaching trades is definitely worth it. Those who treat blue collar as second class are dead wrong. Not every student has an interest in mark twain(if they are still allowed to read a book with the N word), shakespear, or learning calculus, biology, or chemistry. A hands on approach to welding, painting, plumbing, and being an electrician; may allow kids to escape the boredom and monotany of the "college bound" curriculum, and learn something they can use and are actually interested in. Another by product, the physics of electricity, or the chemistry of paint could be taught and the "trade student" may actually learn something about theory, and how theory has practical use.

Bickering over "pupil" dollars is worthless. What is it, $16,000/yr per student? 2 students pay for the teacher for the year, 80% goes to admin to pillage? or buy high tech AV cameras? If they student chooses to put their "pupil" dollars into something they are interested in, its their choice not the money grubbing super.

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Russell Orms 6 years, 6 months ago

  1. bloggy-sorry but i just don't agree with "share the wealth" with other school districts and cities that don't even bother to pass their own taxes. They just want some of Steamboat's returned to them. Where do you draw the line. I draw it at city's edge since the tax was presented and passed as CITY tax. One idea I think is great is consolidation, with just one superintendant, management team etc. If that is presented to voters and approved, fine. 2. Justathought-I think we are starting to agree on some items. I want those schools and cities to "take responsibility" by passing their own tax plans, not just asking for a part of the tax that was presented and passed by Steamboat voters to benefit Steamboat schools. It was not presented as a regional tax so I don't support changing it without a vote of Steamboat taxpayers. If the voters approve then fine but not until.
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