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 email@example.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.