Lamar School Board conducts budget wo...

Lamar School Board conducts budget worksession - Lamar Ledger

There are 38 comments on the Lamar Ledger story from Apr 5, 2011, titled Lamar School Board conducts budget worksession - Lamar Ledger. In it, Lamar Ledger reports that:

State funding has not yet been released and the budget situation is still unsure, Lamar School District Superintendent Charles Soper told the Lamar School Board on April 4. Soper presented a proposed budget to the board, with potential cuts that included the possible closure of Lincoln Elementary School.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Lamar Ledger.

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Paul Roberts

Grand Junction, CO

#21 Apr 7, 2011
Back to the original topic of this thread... Ian said that he believes that moving 6th grade to the middle school is "a fundamentally poor decision to move 6th grade to the middle school." I would like to see some research on this statement. Are there studies that indicate that 6th graders do best in an elementary setting? How do 6th graders who are in other middle schools perform? Is there any data on this, or is this just another emotional statement made without reference to fact? My guess is that no one has consulted any research to see if this has any bearing and that people who claim one way or the other are simply stating their personal biases.

My guess - and unlike others, I admit it is a guess - is that moving 6th grade would have no bearing on academic performance, provided they continue to be treated like 6th graders and not like Middle School students. I wish I could put that proviso in bold faced font, because that is the kicker. For example, if 6th graders are enrolled in the Middle School sports teams, we could expect to see a drop in academic performance due to students missing class for away games, practice schedules, etc.

(Middle school sports, by the way, is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Academic performance drops when students reach middle school, which is the same time when they begin to participate in all of these athletic events. The school criticizes parents who pull their kids out of class and rightfully emphasizes the link between attendance and academic performance, yet that same school will pull kids from class to travel to Trinidad, La Junta, or where ever in order to play a game.)

The physical configuration of the Middle School building is also a factor here. Would it be possible to have 6th graders restricted to upstairs or some other area, to have 6th graders on different lunch shifts (that would probably be necessary to fit everyone in the lunchroom anyway), and with different bell schedules to minimize interactions with older students? Based on what I have seen of that building, that would seem to work.

What is happening to the district is sad. It is a tragedy not only for the schools but for the community. Let's not compound the problem by making decisions on emotional arguments and opinions masquerading as facts.
Reality Check

Eads, CO

#22 Apr 7, 2011
sad wrote:
This news is all extremely depressing! Our poor little community is not only dying on main street, but in the classrooms as well!
Wow, I would not want to be a board member right now; good luck and I hope every leaf is overturned and every possible idea is looked at, before making a final decision.
Why is it that only the elementary level is looking at taking the biggest hit?
It should be noted that last year, despite declining enrollment and small class sizes, the elementary prinicpals were still allowed to go out and hire several new teachers. Had the district buckled down THEN and just had slightly larger class sizes, many of the cuts being looked at now wouldn't be necessary. Even with all the cuts being made at Elementary level, I have been told that class sizes K-6 STILL wouldn't exceed 24-25 students. Feel free to call some other districts and find out what their class sizes have been for several years. I guarantee most of them are close to 30. The high school has had steady decling in enrollment over the years and have had almost NO cuts to staff.
Someone else mentioned custodial staff cuts...? Really? Were you not around last year when the district made cuts in that department? Guess they could just cut ALL janitors and put the kids and staff to work cleaning up after themselves huh?
Ian, you make alot of good points and suggestions... why are you not on the Board of Ed??
areader

La Junta, CO

#23 Apr 7, 2011
Regular ed and honors classes at the high school almost all have more than 25 students in them, some substantially more. Those teachers who retired last year were not replaced. Cutting staff at the high school will mean cutting programs. Fewer programs will make the high school less attractive to students, leading to lower enrollment.
committed to education

Lamar, CO

#24 Apr 7, 2011
areader wrote:
Regular ed and honors classes at the high school almost all have more than 25 students in them, some substantially more. Those teachers who retired last year were not replaced. Cutting staff at the high school will mean cutting programs. Fewer programs will make the high school less attractive to students, leading to lower enrollment.
I have been an educator for over 20 years. The topic of school closures is a very sensitive issue. One that needs to be dealt with professionally. I challenge all of you to attend the next school board meetings April 11th and April 18th to express your concerns and ideas. It is my belief we all want what is best for children. We can all sit around and point fingers and play the blame game when it comes to the condition of our country and its economy. But where does that leave us? More importantly, where does that leave our children. The reality is, we are faced with a decision that directly affects many, many families.... educators, custodians, support staff, secretaries.... Once again, I challenge all of you to attend the next 2 boards meetins to express your concerns and ideas.
Just wondering

Eads, CO

#25 Apr 8, 2011
I have been watching this thread for a while and I wonder why not one word has been said about school sports.
Since "non-essentials" should be cut before academics, why not cut sports or make the athletes and their families who can afford it pay. If you can't pay, you don't play.
hellooooo

Lamar, CO

#26 Apr 8, 2011
People get yourselves informed better! Lamar RE-2 receives over 80% of its funding from the State.

Go to the next school board meeting, ask questions. The superintendent and the board have some important decisions to make concerning around a $900,000 shortfall.

The citizens of Lamar voted these people in (board), so let us support what decisions they will make. Would you like to be in the seats: I bet not!

Just wondering-sports cannot be cut! That is just nonsense. Do you know how many athletes receive scholarships for college through athletics and if they didn't could not afford college. It is essential, it builds character, as does band, art clubs, DECA, and other extra activities.

Good luck school board, I am sure whatever decision you all make, will be tough!
just wondering

Grand Junction, CO

#27 Apr 8, 2011
I disagree that cutting sports is nonsense. If it comes down to a choice between cutting teachers/academic programs and cutting sports - cut sports.

It is interesting to me that we have these sacred cows. It is OK to put low income families on their own when it comes to health care, for example, but God forbid we cut a sports program.

Maybe sports build character. They also reduce the time students spend in the classroom and gets way more than its share of attention when compared to academics. A smart, well educated person leaves school with skills that will last a lifetime. An athlete leaves school with some great memories (if they are exceptional) and that's about it.
hellooooo

Lamar, CO

#28 Apr 8, 2011
just wondering wrote:
I disagree that cutting sports is nonsense. If it comes down to a choice between cutting teachers/academic programs and cutting sports - cut sports.
It is interesting to me that we have these sacred cows. It is OK to put low income families on their own when it comes to health care, for example, but God forbid we cut a sports program.
Maybe sports build character. They also reduce the time students spend in the classroom and gets way more than its share of attention when compared to academics. A smart, well educated person leaves school with skills that will last a lifetime. An athlete leaves school with some great memories (if they are exceptional) and that's about it.
I can respect your opinion because you are entitled to it, but I can bet you that cutting sports will never happen, sorry! I am all for education as well, as would most educated individuals would agree, it is the reason for a aschool setting.

Again, good luck school board!
hellooooo

Lamar, CO

#29 Apr 8, 2011
They are not cutting academics either.
just wondering

Grand Junction, CO

#30 Apr 8, 2011
Of course, I know that sports will never be cut. That is the point. Certain things are untouchable. High school sports is a fixture in our culture. Parents show up for all the games and cheer their kids on. Too bad there is not nearly as much effort put into supporting the academic part of education. It seems to take a back seat to sports in many cases.
I guarantee that if a school announced it was cutting back on sports there would be an overflow crowd at the next school board meeting. When was the last overflow crowd at a school board budget meeting?
It is an interesting indicator of where our priorities are. Something to think about in my view.
FYI

Eads, CO

#31 Apr 8, 2011
committed to Education: "I challenge all of you to attend the next school board meetings April 11th and April 18th to express your concerns and ideas. It is my belief we all want what is best for children."

There is not a board meeting on the 11th... It was moved to the 18th to allow all board members to be present. There is a work session on the 13th at noon however and those are open to the public.
lovechildren

Pueblo, CO

#32 Apr 8, 2011
If we are so broke how is it that alta vista is getting a new school for a few children. Surely this is costing the district something
research

Lamar, CO

#33 Apr 8, 2011
lovechildren wrote:
If we are so broke how is it that alta vista is getting a new school for a few children. Surely this is costing the district something
Alta Vista has their own budget...do your research, Soper talked about Alta Vista in the story! There is also a story on chieftain.com about our district. Attend a school board meeting or talk to a board member for the facts!

But I do agree Alta Vista does not need a brand new school out in a hay field! But that is just my opinion and I am entitled to speak my mind!
educator

La Veta, CO

#34 Apr 8, 2011
You people do nothing but complain...get involved...attend school board meetings...voice your opinion openly...if you choose not to do that then don't complain...now tell me if the answer was to raise taxes by increasing the mill levy and that would solve the problem...would you be for that...step up and be a force...
Concerned

La Veta, CO

#35 Apr 8, 2011
I find that K, 1 and 2 is where children learn to be students. If they don't get it at the elementary level no amount of programs at the high school level will matter. We have exceptional teachers and the education at the elementary level will be a tragedy if you slash their budget.
What about a 4-day week? Since when is $200,000 not enough to make a difference?
Sureley parents would rather deliver their children to schools than lose instructors.
Wouldn't giving up the buses running all over town make a difference. Sacrifices must be made but I am upset that those sacrifices are going to be made at the expense of our children.
RE-2 PARENT

Grand Junction, CO

#36 Apr 9, 2011
The idea of cutting sports or making it a luxury for those who can afford to play is not practical. Sports, art, and music are all important aspects of a child's education. The link between physical fitness and academic performance is well documented. Sports has a lot of benefits for children (self-esteem, discipline, leadership, and teamwork to name a few). Education is not just about math and english. It is a process of creating well rounded citizens that have the necessary skills to contribute to our society. I understand that none of the options are pleasant. I am hopeful that we can work together to find the best solution.
WrightWing

Denver, CO

#37 Apr 12, 2011
Let's see. We need to blame the rich for the lack of sound education. Sounds like liberal dribble. I can understand the fire and hire. There is a school district in southern Colorado that did just that. Canned the teacher and then made everyone re-apply. Two fold reason, assess the teachers and hire back at a provisional payscale. Crazy as it was it did wake up teachers to the fact that the district was serious about the quality of the teacher.

Now I do not have children at the local schools. But I do watch what happens and I see that when you have individuals concerned about students that pass with an A and yet can't even get into our local community college because their ACT/SAT scores are lower than a gnat's nut.
I know many of you think the world is flat, but it isn't.
committed to education

Lamar, CO

#38 Apr 13, 2011
WrightWing wrote:
Let's see. We need to blame the rich for the lack of sound education. Sounds like liberal dribble. I can understand the fire and hire. There is a school district in southern Colorado that did just that. Canned the teacher and then made everyone re-apply. Two fold reason, assess the teachers and hire back at a provisional payscale. Crazy as it was it did wake up teachers to the fact that the district was serious about the quality of the teacher.
Now I do not have children at the local schools. But I do watch what happens and I see that when you have individuals concerned about students that pass with an A and yet can't even get into our local community college because their ACT/SAT scores are lower than a gnat's nut.
I know many of you think the world is flat, but it isn't.
TO "WrightWing". Where have you been? Under a rock? You think firing all teachers and rehiring them at a lower pay is going to help a child receive a better education? Really? Would firing all doctors and accountants and rehiriing them at a cheaper pay make them a better doctor or accountant? I think not. That idea is ridiculous! What do you do for a living? How about firing you and having you reapply for a cheaper salary and see if that makes you a better employee. Teachers are not valued in this country as it is.Society has made sure that all adults, you, me, police, parents, anyone with authority, are not respected by children today. It starts at home. That is a whole other blog. Teachers are only one-fourth of the equation... 1/4 home/ 1/4 society, 1/4 the student. Committed educators are offended by the media and by people who don't have their facts straight and who have never been in a classroom since they have graduated. So, I challenge you to visit your nearest elementary school, middle school or high school. Spend some time in a classroom. I don't mean an hour or two... try a couple of days and see if your opinion changes.

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