Friday, November 18, 2011

North valley needs middle and high schools


Jim Slanetz is a Ketchum resident and business owner.

By JIM SLANETZ

Having just run for Ketchum City Council, I've been thinking a lot lately on how to make Ketchum a better community. One thing that keeps coming to my mind is our lack of public schools at the middle and high school levels. This issue is rarely touched upon, but I think it's very important for the future of Ketchum and Sun Valley.

More than a hundred studies have proven that smaller schools out-perform larger ones at almost every level, not to mention that they are safer and have much better ties to the community. Instead of spending more than $30 million on the new high school when a perfectly functional one already existed, wouldn't it have been much wiser to build a middle and high school in the north valley to have eased the crowding issues that existed? Following the dollar, my math shows that more than 90 percent of the funds from the 1993 school bond were spent south valley and an even higher percentage of the plant facilities levy will be spent there as well.

This isn't a north- versus south-valley issue. It's about having schools be part of the communities and neighborhoods in which we live, and the Blaine County School District has deprived the north valley of that opportunity while at the same time squandering taxpayer money on big and sometimes redundant facilities. It pains me to pay my property taxes knowing these inequities in spending.

Here's a thought: If school is about seven hours a day and students attend 180 days a year, an hour roundtrip bus ride for a Ketchum student adds up to 25 school days per year, or almost a year and a half of school time riding the bus during their middle and high school years. This has to weigh heavily on a family when they are choosing a place to live. As north valley residents, we have to make our voices heard, and challenge the school board to justify its spending.

I know the argument is that the south valley is where most of the families live, but is that not a direct effect of where schools are located? I know many families that have left Ketchum to be closer to the middle and high schools.

North valley citizens and city leaders need to demand that the Blaine County School District provide more localized schools throughout the valley. We should be getting a better product for the more than $17,000 that we spend per student per year. This is an important piece of the puzzle to making Ketchum a vibrant, diverse community, and we need to start the conversation for change.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2019 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.