Our View: Get informed now about school boundary issues
For the first time in decades, the Steamboat Springs School District will adjust district boundaries in advance of the opening of a new school.
Sleeping Giant School, located near the Silver Spur and Steamboat II neighborhoods in West Steamboat, will serve pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students, and the district has held five virtual community meetings, including one in Spanish, to provide parents with information about the boundary changes.
According to district officials, attendance at these meetings wasn’t robust, and they attribute that to the fact that the meetings were held virtually rather than in-person due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The school board is scheduled to vote on the boundary changes at its Dec. 14 meeting, so now is the time for families to get informed and learn about how the proposed changes could affect the school their child attends.
For those who didn’t participate in the informational meetings, detailed information about the changes can be found easily on the district’s website at sssd.k12.co.us. The top item under “ANNOUNCEMENTS” on the home page is a link to school attendance boundary information, including descriptions of the boundaries and a map.
The information also provides an explainer paragraph outlining the principles the district’s boundary committee used in making the changes, which include “families having equitable access to high quality school options, preparing for anticipated growth and an economical and efficient transportation network that minimizes traffic congestion and meets family transportation needs.”
At issue: The school board will be voting on new Steamboat Springs School District boundary changes at its Dec. 14 meeting.
Our View: The district has held virtual community meetings, and if parents missed those, now is the time to get informed and have a voice in the decision-making process.
• Logan Molen, publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Kevin Fisher, community representative
• George Danellis, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
Here are some key factors that we think are worth pointing out to families.
• The boundary established for the new school serves the close-by neighborhoods of Silver Spur, Steamboat II, Heritage Park, West End, Sleepy Bear and West Acres as well as the neighborhoods of Elk River Estates and Rabbit Run, accessed off Elk River Road.
• Those families who have students currently enrolled in fourth and seventh grades can request to have their student stay in their current school, and those requests will be automatically granted if families submit an intradistrict application by Feb. 12.
• Families who want students in other grades to stay in their current schools can submit choice/open enrollment applications. A choice lottery will be conducted and will prioritize the siblings of fourth and seventh grade students staying in their current schools in an effort to keep siblings together.
• Families will receive notification of their boundary school by mid-January, which gives plenty of time to decide about whether they want to submit change requests.
In our opinion, the process the district has followed to create new boundaries has been open, transparent and well thought out. The committee submitted its recommendations to the school board Nov. 9, and Steamboat Pilot & Today has reported at least twice on the proposed changes.
The information is out there, and now it’s the responsibility of families to educate themselves on the proposed changes, possibly discussing the issue as a family to give students a voice. And if parents have opinions, both positive and negative, about the changes, now is the time to speak up, not after the school board has voted.
Those seeking additional information can send their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. This email also is a good one to use to submit comments about the proposal.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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