Patricia J. Shaffer: Separate schools

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— As a parent of kids who have attended South Routt School District schools — one who went to the alternative school and graduated and one who dropped out after the alternative school was moved to Steamboat — I think we all need to take a step back. Put yourself in your children’s shoes. Would you want to go to school in a town that is your rival and where the kids there have never treated you with any respect?

These school districts have been rivals for years, and that will never change. Expecting our children to be able to all go to school together is like putting a wolf in a chicken coop and expecting him not to attack. The smaller school districts already have limited resources, teachers and administrators available to them. Talking about cutting even more from the schools is taking more away from our children. We want our children to thrive in a competitive world, yet we do not give them what they need to accomplish that — stability at home in their own towns.

Steamboat may have more kids in its schools, but that does not disqualify the importance of the other districts and their ability to try to provide an education in their own towns for their own children. Having one superintendent for all districts may sound like a great idea, but what happens come winter when the superintendent needs to travel to one of the other towns? Where would the district’s central offices be located? In Steamboat? We all know what the road conditions can be like in the winter between Oak Creek and Steamboat, or between Oak Creek and Hayden. Do we really want our children or superintendent traveling on these roads because we decided to cut positions and districts?

The parents who choose to take their children out of their home district for school should continue to have that option. The parents who want to keep their kids and staffing in their district should also have that option, just like the parents who choose to homeschool or charter school or private school their children. If we all start taking our children and our business out of the town we live in, none of us will have a town to live in anymore. No more grocery store, liquor store, pharmacy, laundromat, apartment complex or restaurants. Is this really what we want? Politicians don’t really understand rural communities and the pride that we try to have in ourselves. Just because you believe that the school district may be better, does your child feel the same way?

Patricia J. Shaffer

Oak Creek

Comments

Richard Hagins 3 years, 9 months ago

Where did it say that students would be going to other schools in the consolidation of the districts? The schools are rivals, lets hope the District are not and work together to improve all of Routt County's students educations.

The Delta County School District 50J includes Cedaredge, Delta, Paonia, Crawford and Hotchkiss. Those towns have their schools, but run under one district. Paonia and Hotchkiss are only 9 miles apart and they have their own schools and play against each other in football and are in the same league.

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max huppert 3 years, 9 months ago

I think the roads are fine between OC and SB I drive it everyday and never had a problem, the plow truck drivers do a great job, and the OC town does a great job of snow removal.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

The whole concept of there being some great rivalry between SB and Oak Creek is greatly overstated. The schools compete in only a few sports and the sheer difference in size means that rarely are any of the matches competitive. But I have seen a good deal of respect for individual students such as Estes or Brunkink or Rossi.

Consolidation would make sense only if it allowed greater classroom resources in Soroco and Hayden than otherwise would be possible. The schools, being dependent on property taxes, are going to experience reduced revenues next year. SB is much larger and has a larger property tax base. So consolidation should primarily benefit students in Soroco and Hayden while having minimal impact upon SB.

If a study shows there are no cost saving available from reducing duplicate administration in a consolidated district then the idea is not worth pursuing. I note with modern communication systems, that it could easily make sense to retain some people in both Hayden and Soroco offices that now perform functions for the entire district.

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