SCSD#2 Board Members Talk to Legislators

SCSD#2 Board held a legislative round table on Monday, Nov 21. Attending in person were Dave Kinskey, Mark Kinner, Bo Biteman, Ken Pendergraft, Cyrus Western, and Barry Crago. Also attending was Micheal Lansing, new trustee.

Superintendent Scott Stults started by thanking the legislators for coming. “We appreciate your support of education. Great things are going on in Sheridan County.” Stults and assistant superintendents Kristie Garriffa and Rebecca Adsit presented a slide show about SCSD#2.

Garriffa talked about a new bill that the WDE is drafting which would take control away from the local school districts for the K-12 literacy program.

Garriffa said that one thing SCSD#2 realizes is that it is teachers, not programs, that make a difference in the learning of their students. She talked about a current bill before the legislature that would require schools to purchase new programs for literacy. She added that she hoped that SCSD#2 would be allowed to continue their successful teaching.

Garriffa

She added that SCSD#2 does not want to dismantle their effective system. Dave Kinskey mention that he voted against that bill, and that now it is in the public comment stage before finalizing the new rules. Stults talked about funding and said that he was concerned about the current rate of inflation and how it would affect SCSD#2. said, that he and Graffia had voiced concerns with the legislation last year.

Stults

He added that SCSD#2 continues to grow and improve on literacy, and that the test scores prove that what they are doing is working.

Another subject brought up was block grant funding. Stults said he knew that there was a concern on the state level that they are giving the schools funding and not seeing results. At SCSD#2 they are seeing results.

“We’ve seen a direct correlation between money and student results as SCSD#2,” Stults said. He talked about being flexible with the funds.

Stults

He said that the administrators in SCSD#2 feel they know best where the money should be spent, and that the money should not be earmarked for XYZ, but they want to be able to use it where they can get the ‘most bang for the buck.’

Stults said that Wyoming ranks about 22 in the nation in teacher salaries. Money attracts great teachers, and when they see the applicant pool go from 200 to 20 or 30, the salaries make a different. Money helps to attract and retain good teachers. Teachers are what makes the #1 impact on learning. “We need to attract and retain them.” Stults said.

Outgoing chairman Sue Wilson added that the cost per student at District #2 is very low as well. Stults also said that much of the block grant money goes for the CTE programs at SCSD#2, and that he wanted the legislature to recognize the importance of CTE even in Junior High School.

Stults said that these programs offer a great opportunity for students to see they can make a great living here in Sheridan. It helps students to see the advantage of earning their diploma, and helps to keep them from dropping out of high school. He added that the school has a hand in preparing them for the world of work.

He said that SCSD#2 also has other sources of funding, and one thing it helps to fund is the parent liaisons and a graduation coach. “We seek out community funding and our community has generous donors that provide us financial support.”

Western asked if all schools had a liaison, and Stults said all the elementary schools in the District as well as the Junior High do have parent liaisons. The liaisons help parents become involved with education which makes a different with students. Wilson said she has never heard a negative comment about the liaisons.

Another topic discussed was affordable housing, Wilson talked about the problem statewide.

Wilson

She added that it was a problem for other community members as well. Western added that affordable housing was a problem, and Kinner mention looking at the Jackson, Wyoming model.

Kinner

Stults said that SCSD#2 is currently working closely with the Scott Foundation in purchasing teacher housing so that by the next school year they will have more housing for teachers.

It is affecting how they hire teachers, Stults said, “We have offered positions to teachers, but they call later and say they can’t take the position due to housing.” He also mentioned perhaps using some federal monies to help to purchase teacher housing.

Chairman Wilson thanked the legislators and the board moved to go into an executive session.



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