By Marty Mayfield
The discussion continued tonight at the Krivokapich Media Center at Raton High School this time with most of the school board present to hear concerns about the school consolidation issue from the 15 members of the general public and 35 school staff and faculty in attendance.
The recurring theme that keeps coming up in the discussion is the combining of the different age groups. The one option being looked at is moving the 7th and 8th grades to the high school, which most people disagree with.
The other theme that keeps coming up is that the decision is being made too quickly. A couple of the comments suggested that a blue ribbon committee be created to help study the possibilities and help with the decision.
As Dr. Terhune has said numerous times the best solution was the new consolidated school building but once again the bond issue failed to pass. This school enrollment at the 40-day mark for the school district is 975 students. That is down from well over 1000 in years past.
A couple of comments indicated that if the board goes through with this in one form or another they will take their kids to another school. In Clayton the school system has K-4th at Alvis School with 5th and 6th at Kiser and 7th and 8th at the Junior High with 9-12 at the high school. In Des Moines the entire school is in one building however the elementary is in one wing while the other grades are in another wing. The situation is similar in Maxwell and Springer moved their 7th and 8th grade from the middle school elementary school campus to the high school last year. Consolidation is a common theme in all the schools in the area simply based on enrollment.
Tiny Sanchez was present again at the meeting and he told the board that he was working on a couple of angles and would have more information at the next meeting. He added too that the new construction codes have defined the life expectancy of a new commercial building at 40 years. With that in mind all the schools have met their life expectancy and could be considered for replacement.
The board knows they have their work cut out for them as board member Beaver Segotta indicated we might not be ready for a decision next week. There have been several ideas brought up that would take time to analyze and consider.
The school board will meet again on December 8th for to consider making a decision on the school consolidation issue.