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I will say that my comment here is over-simplified and ignores the issue complexity of the issue that medical marijuana is legal in Colorado but not legal federally. While education is a state-run program, there are direct federal monies that our district receives and relies on (through competitive grants) and a specific policy about medical marijuana COULD put the district at risk of losing federal funds (although the Obama administration has not actively pursued any mj actions against states). My point is that I don't think we as a school district or as a state should be addressing medical mj as anything other than another prescription drug and should not be enacting laws/policies specifically for medical mj. Mind boggling that my kid can go back to school after a surgery and the nurse can administer an opioid like Oxycodone that we know can be addictive and deadly, but that the few kids that require medical mj in order to be able to attend school can't use it above board.
I fail to see why this is an issue that needs it own house bill or school district policies. School districts, including SSHS, already have prescription drug policies. Why doesn't medical marijuana just fall under these existing policies?
Not once do you mention what sport this is. Could you please make a habit of putting the name of the team (gender and sport) somewhere in the headline or first paragraph? Thanks.
I also hate rumors, which is why, when I heard about the possible changes in the music program, I contacted the High School principal to hear directly what the administration is saying.
1) Currently there is one full time band teacher in 6-12 and one full time choir teacher in 6-12. With the "overstaffing reduction" and restructed staffing the very unfortunate effect is that a band teacher will be leading both band and choir in both the MS and HS. It has to be a band teacher since the demands of all the different instruments requires specific training that band teachers get but choir teachers do not. Very destructive to the choir program.
2) In terms of "overstaffing" let's just look at 7th grade band, there are currently two sections of about 30 kids each, cut one of these sections and you have one teacher with almost 60 kids.
3) While Jim Knapp was not fired, he was offered only the full time position at the middle school, effectively removing him from the high school.
4) If 5th grade band is moved outside of school time, the number of kids who can participate will drop. Any kid who has to take the bus or is in afterschool activities will not be able to try band and see if music should be an important part of their life. This erodes the band's foundation.
5) Jim Knapp built this music program from 9 kids in the high school bands when he arrived 8 years ago to almost 80 kids in concert and jazz band now. These are the bands that you see at ski band, football games, graduation and other musical events. Reducing 5th grade band, then making the middle school band classes so large that kids do not get the instruction they need, erodes the high school band to the point that it no longer serves the students or the community. The choir program does not have the foundation support that band does and it suffers and is smaller because of it.
6) If there are issues with specific staff, then those should be dealt with directly, not by dismantling a program that is serving a large set of students quite well.
7) It will be very difficult to hire a combined band/choir teacher at the high school when the position is only part time. A suitable person has not been identified for this position.
8) The band and choir programs support how great our schools are and how great our students are. Many of this year's seniors supplied musical supplements with their college admissions, even if they are not planning to study music, to show how talented and well rounded they are and it makes an impression on college admissions. Some of this year's seniors are planning to continue to study music and this passion came primarily from the school music programs.
The district is hearing from many different groups that support the music programs and want them to stay a vibrant part of the schools, so perhaps this fluidity will allow the district to re-evalutate the proposed changes as to keep the music programs strong.
Just for the record, I have nothing to do with Partners nor this program nor the ed fund board, nor do I know if funding this Partners program was a good idea. But I do know that the 1/2 cent sales tax is not district money and that the ed fund board is an independent body. I personally know many people on the Ed Fund board although have not discussed this with them, but I trust them to do a good and fair job of distributing the 1/2 cent sales tax money consistent with the purpose of enhancing the education of the students of Routt county.
Scott - What do you mean that the school districts are limited to the Ed Fund board for their additional needs? The school district employs a full time grant writer. Does she only write grants requests to the Ed Fund board? I thought the grant writer researched and secured funds from many different sources?
"In their letter, district superintendents said they were upset to hear that the Education Fund would consider using district funds to pay for the Partners program" I would appreciate if you would print the actual letter as I am surprised that these superintendents would call these "district funds." It is my understanding that municipalities are not allowed to use sales taxes to directly fund schools, hence the sales taxes raised go to the independent, non-profit Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board, whose stated mission (from their website) is as follows:
The Mission of the Steamboat Springs Education Fund is:
To enhance academic accomplishment in Routt Co. through student facing investments in staff, facilities, infrastructure, technology and curriculum, made available through our public schools.
There is nothing on their website that says they are spending district funds. If the fund board feels that the Partners grant is appropriate, then that is their prerogative.
I can certainly see the issue if requests from outside the school district are reviewed before ones from the school district, but again, the SSEF is in charge of their processes, not the school board, not the school districts and not the superintendents.
It is presumptuous and I believe illegal for the school district to believe that the half cent sales tax belongs to them and that money not granted to Partners would "go to the district."
Scott - one thing I am confused about at the current High School, if we are showing the population is under capacity, why are there teachers sharing rooms and having to live off a cart? To my knowledge, we didn't have that before this year.
Last login: Monday, May 9, 2016
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