Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Step up

    The quality of public education is everyone’s responsibility, so it’s a mystery why no one from Zone 4, which includes Ketchum and areas to its north and south, has stepped forward to fill a vacancy on the Blaine County School District board of trustees.
    Zone 4 hasn’t had a representative from the district since 2009. The trustee who just resigned and created the new opening on the board was not from the zone, but had been appointed by the school board when no one from the zone applied.
    It’s important for the Blaine County School District to be governed by trustees who live in diverse areas of the county, lest it inadvertently overlook needs in some areas like Zone 4 that is home to Hemingway Elementary.
    Blaine County is rightfully proud of its public schools, but quality education requires strong partners among the public, parents, administrators, educators and students. Blaine County residents are largely well-educated, with 44 percent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, according the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s nearly double the national percentage.
    It’s clear that we value education. Over the years, residents have been strong supporters of school bonds, levies and planning processes. The district seems to have few problems finding classroom volunteers.
    But valuing education is far different from stepping forward to do the work to ensure that those values are passed to upcoming generations. The school board sets the overarching policies and approves the budgets that govern the district. It makes sure kids have quality schools and classrooms, and diverse opportunities.
    The district has big challenges coming up, not the least of which is to find ways to replenish the ranks of Baby Boom-era teachers who will be retiring soon.
    Zone 4 is full of qualified candidates for the board, but if someone doesn’t step forward soon, the district will be forced to select someone outside the zone—again.
    Residents shouldn’t let that happen.

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