Patricia J. Shaffer: Separate schools
March 16, 2011
Oak Creek — 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