Moffat County School District administrators Mark Rydberg, left, and Joe Petrone present their draft budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 to students of Moffat County High School. The proposal calls for $2.3 million in reductions district wide, and includes a redistribution of 45 students from Sandrock Elementary School to Ridgeview Elementary School and reductions in bus routes.

Photo by Ben McCanna

Moffat County School District administrators Mark Rydberg, left, and Joe Petrone present their draft budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 to students of Moffat County High School. The proposal calls for $2.3 million in reductions district wide, and includes a redistribution of 45 students from Sandrock Elementary School to Ridgeview Elementary School and reductions in bus routes.

Moffat County School District administrators unveil $2.3 million in proposed cuts

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On Friday, Joe Petrone and Mark Rydberg paid a visit to Moffat County High School to present the administration’s draft budget proposal for fiscal year 2012.

The proposal introduces $2,325,750 in cuts from fiscal year 2011.

The presentation was open to all MCHS students. However, six members of the student council were the only attendees.

District Superintendent Petrone, passed out copies of the draft proposal to the students.

“What you all have in front of you is the beginning point,” Petrone said. “Just understand these are rough draft proposals.”

From there, District Finance Director Rydberg led the group through each item of the draft, which includes a reduction of more than 20 FTEs, a redistribution of 45 students from Sandrock Elementary School to Ridgeview Elementary School, reductions in bus routes and more.

FTEs — or Full Time Equivalents — roughly translates to full-time employees, but can also be expressed in man-hours.

Rydberg said the district’s proposed cuts are the result of a state budget proposal unveiled by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Feb. 15. Hickenlooper’s draft calls for a 14 percent reduction in K-12 funding throughout Colorado.

In Moffat County, a 14 percent reduction equals $2.2 million, Rydberg said.

“If the state wasn’t broke, we would get $7,000 per kid,” Rydberg said. “Instead of $7,000 per kid, we’re going to get $6,000 per kid.

“That’s a significant amount of money.”

First, Rydberg discussed proposed cuts that affect the district as a whole.

The proposal shows the district could save $240,000 in 2012 by reducing the district’s physical education by one FTE, music education by one FTE, art education by one FTE and library staff by one FTE.

“It certainly means less,” Rydberg said of services. “It won’t be the same. An elementary kid gets four days of music right now. It’s very likely that they’ll get three.”

The proposal also calls for $123,750 in savings through a reduction of 5.5 paraprofessional FTEs.

Rydberg said he hopes the proposed reductions in FTEs can be attained through natural attrition.

Each year, the district experiences staff losses through retirements and resignations. This year, employees lost through natural attrition would most likely not be replaced, he said. And, existing teachers would pitch in where needed.

“We’re going to try to spread that out and share the services,” Rydberg said.

The proposal doesn’t indicate a decision on the swimming pool at MCHS. Rydberg said discussions are pending a final recommendation from the Swim Pool Task Force — a committee of administrators, teachers and community members who are seeking funding options for the pool.

The task force’s recommendation will be presented to the school board in March, Rydberg said.

Next, Rydberg discussed cuts at the school level.

Regarding MCHS, the proposal seeks to save $215,000 by eliminating three FTEs, and $20,000 by reducing funding for extracurricular activities.

Regarding Craig Middle School, the proposal seeks to save $170,000 by reducing three FTEs.

Rydberg said this reduction could be achieved by eliminating midday teacher collaborative periods.

Regarding Sunset Elementary School, the proposal calls for a savings of $125,000 by reducing two FTEs. Under this plan, Sunset would become a two-track school, meaning there would be two kindergarten classes, two first grade classes and so on.

The greatest cost savings in the proposal, amounting to $315,000, comes in the form of redistributing 45 students from Sandrock to Ridgeview.

“We have a significant disparity in enrollment at each school,” Rydberg said. “Right now, Ridgeview has about 210 kids. Sandrock has 355.

“That is a huge difference.

Rydberg said the students who would be moved to Ridgeview are residents of Craig’s Shadow Mountain neighborhood.

“Shadow Mountain was within the Ridgeview boundary,” he said. “It got moved two years ago to Sandrock, and what we’re proposing is that we move them back to Ridgeview.”

Petrone said residents of Shadow Mountain have been notified of the proposal.

“We’re having a conversation with families next week to hear from them about their thoughts regarding the change,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that they have to deal with another transition, but we believe it’s the right thing to do with the numbers we have.”

The administrators also discussed proposed cuts in transportation. The proposal seeks savings of $70,000 by redrawing bus routes.

“The thought here is that we would stop driving as much on county roads and make people come to (bus) stops,” Rydberg said. “It’s been done in the past.”

Other items on the proposal include the possibility of freezing “steps,” or yearly pay raises, and saving $200,000 by cutting back on computer replacements.

With the presentation complete, the student council asked questions.

MCHS junior April Rogers asked about the reductions in FTEs.

“Are you guys letting go some of the staff?” said Rogers.

Rydberg said he hoped to accomplish reductions through attrition.

“We’re trying our best to not let someone go,” he said.

Senior Slade Gurr asked if reserve funds could be used to pay for services.

Rydberg said the school board has the flexibility to tap reserves, but it might be unwise.

“Deficit spending for a government organization — one that has very little ability to affect its revenue — is a very dangerous thing to do,” he said. “You get short-term gains out of it.”

Junior Kirstie McPherson asked whether the swimming pool could be closed in order to pay for ongoing computer upgrades throughout the district.

Rydberg said an additional cut from the budget wouldn’t necessarily translate to a gain for computers.

“It’s not as easy as saying that if we cut the pool that it will automatically go to computers,” he said. “There are many needs here that the board may feel is more important.”

Petrone said the draft proposal represents the first step in a difficult and deeply affecting process.

“These are relatively reasonable options among poor choices,” he said. “Not one of these choices is something we like.”

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Comments

taxslave 3 years, 9 months ago

I've said it before and I'll say it again.....A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.

How about downsizing the management and their incomes and beneifits rather than eliminate the jobs of the tax payers that support them.

It's only going to get much, much worse people. Wake up.

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

I think before reducing workers and bus routes that will help kids get to school and learn. They should look at things like forgetting about the pool completely. Don't throw anymore good money after bad. Drastically cut the amount of money spent on the five major sports teams, football, basketball, golf, baseball, and track. These sports are extra curricular activities, and should take a back seat to other expenses associated with teaching and learning. If parents want their children to participate in these sports then the parents should be willing to pay ALL the expenses associated with these sports. If they are not, then they either need to find a sponsor for their child, or that child will not be able to play.
Why should all the students have to suffer losses in education so a few can play in these sports?

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lostyermarbles 3 years, 9 months ago

In our property taxe's, so much goes to school's already and other place's. But now with the cut's we have to pay twice??? We should not have to pay more to school's to have an education for our kids. What is happening to it??

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onewhocares 3 years, 9 months ago

Sports are an integral part of the high school experience helping keep the kids strong- mind, body & spirit. (But maybe als you are right with needing more parental financial responsibility involved). But if you cut sports from the school curriculum , who would ever move to this county with young kids? Probably none. I also agree with taxslave as well, that you begin by downsizing administrator incomes first and also taking a look at the overall importance of the Alternative School second & asking what does it provide in the long run. How many of the kids go on to higher education from there and why can't they learn at the regular high school? Maybe in their own special needs classes? What is lacking at the high school that requires a special learning environment for others? If kids are at the Alternative School due to harassing behavior & being different, why isn't the high school administration focusing on not tolerating that kind of closed minded destructive behavior by others & making sure it doesn't happen? If it's due to alcohol & drug abuse causing them to fall behind in regular school - tough, either get straight or drop out. Why should the county pay for teen's bad choices & in ability to face the world? I know this is harsh, but life is harsh and higher education is even harsher & all our kids (& their parents) need to step up to face the challenges ahead, instead of enabling poor choices and broken spirits putting good money into bad. (Note: I know the Alternative.School has benefited a few, but at what cost to the county-why should taxpayers pay for almost a private school)

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

I never said sports should be cut.
What I said was, the parents of those children that wish to participate in these activities need to pay for them.
As far as keeping their bodies strong, there would still be gym class.
But the costs associated with organized sports are very high and should be paid by those that participate. If that means charging a high fee for admission to the games and meets and charging rent for all equipment use, and charging actual cost of transportation, then that is what it will take. Parents and kids alike need to understand that money doesn't just float down from the sky, and that extracurricular activities are just that, extra, not part of teaching and learning. If teaching and learning are cut so sports can be played then something is very wrong with that thought process.

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Jon Pfeifer 3 years, 9 months ago

I appreciate that the school is facing difficult decisions. I am surprised that they have decided to cut so much from core services of the schools by reducing employees (i.e. teachers). I agree with other posts that certain sports might be cut or reduced (by reducing traveling games or other expenses, such as operating a leaky pool). I agree you can't cut all sports, but you can try to tighten the budget to some extent by looking at those programs.

One thing that has not been addressed is collaborative time. The collaborative time that the district pushed on everyone last year should be cut. We are paying teachers for the time they spend talking with each other. We are even sending students home to do this. Even if there is a benefit to this program, at a time when you have to cut the budget, I would rather pay teachers for the time they are in the classroom. I think you can facilitate collaboration through an online forum much more efficiently than requiring all teachers to meet together, and you can certainly reduce the impact of this program by scaling it way back. School administrators basically forced this upon everyone and now they want to cut teachers rather than collaborative time.

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saunders 3 years, 9 months ago

Why is Moffat County the red headed stepchild of one of the nations lowest education funded states? Why does the state continue to cut education to make up for shortfalls? Because we the taxpayers didn't complain about it when they cut education last time. I hope that everyone who takes time to write on this blog also takes the time to call, write or email to our representatives to tell them that continued education cuts in Moffat County are unacceptable and the we will remember how they defended our youth come election time!

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onewhocares 3 years, 9 months ago

It is really scary how a tiny percentage of the population have a huge proportion of the nation's wealth and will not be effected (affected?) by the cuts at all, but the majority of the children in the US will be impacted terribly (i.e. less educational opportunities, teachers, sports, prohibitive college tuition, etc) thereby eventually creating a total caste system. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall.

I find it ironic, that the politicians, we the people vote for (though the choices are few to begin with) are the ones draining the budgets into unknown places (like their personal bank accounts) and now are draining the educational coffers that severely impact our children. At what point, are the people in country going to stand up to the crooks running our counties and states and federal gov't and say "that's enough!?"

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

I think the time has come to quit giving everything under the sun to the illegals that can't even speak English, and start taking better care of our own children.

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missrose 3 years, 9 months ago

Our children are our future and by cutting them short we are crippling ourselves. I say fight the power! Fight for our children! We need to stand up for the most important thing and that is education. People need to stop being apathetic and stand up against the big government we all hate. The people in Wisconsin are fighting for what they believe in and so should we. I hate allowing the government full reign when we all hate it!

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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact: Obviously, Finance directior Mark Rydberg agrees with the public unrest in Wisconson. ( Realy,is that the way a proffessional, delivering bad news dresses.)

Fact; Bad example for our kids!!!!!!!!.

Fact: If educational programs and teachers are cut while the swimming pool at the high School stays open, it is a crime against society!!!!!!!

Fact: Boy's swim team gone, Girl's swim team gone, forced busing of elementary students gone, Title 9 preserved, MONEY SAVED!!!!

Fact: Elmentary students are bused to the pool to play instead of devoting time to educational programs. Moffat County elementary students way way below the rest of the state!!!!!

Fact: Students are not taught to swim, it is a supervised free for all!!!!! ( Teachers get to stay in the class room and twidle their thumbs.) More calab time, YEA

Fact: School board members don't take the time to know what is going on!!! ( Call a school board member see what they really know)

What is the story about mushrooms????

Just floating The Facts

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MCHS2009 3 years, 9 months ago

Just the Facts, Here are my thoughts...

Fact 1: I agree, Rydberg dressed very poorly especially when he is sitting next to Petrone, who was dressed respectfully, the way a school official should. Also, perhaps he should stop referring to the young people as "kids" and more as "students" because the latter is what they are, not just "kids"...

Fact 2: yes...

Fact 3(Cuts): Yes, however where else might we cut, how about the yearly trips to Vegas for the Wrestlers? How about the "Motivational Speakers" brought in for thousands for the district staff? How about the money pit they call a school in Maybell; when buses go out there daily anyways????

Fact 4(Swim teams): Why is swimming any less important than football, or track, or speech and debate? It is not, it is a sport that many of our students excel at. Take that away from them, yes... Fantastic idea (Hey, while we are at it, lets take away music, art, and theater. Why should our kids be creative, or athletic)

PS, Kelsey Conci, Olympic Swim team trials qualifier... try it sometime, she would not be where she is without swimming at MCHS

Fact 5(pool): Again, blame the pool. Sylvia Griffiths does a great job teaching students to swim, perhaps you should volunteer to help sometime. As far as teachers getting more planning time; Have you EVER taught a class, or spent time with someone who does? It is a far greater task than simply 8am-3pm.

Fact (school board): If you don't like it, run for school board, volunteer at your child's school, or go to an open forum meeting, and actually initiate change.

I agree with some of what is said, other things should be more carefully looked at... I am a product of this district, and I am doing alright.

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

To MCHS2009; I understand your concerns and comments. And I agree especially with one point you made. That football, track, speech, debate and the swim team all carry the same weight. That is why all of them need to be paid for by those that choose to participate in them. I would like it very much if these issues about money were not on the table, but they are. And as a taxpayer, I think the wise thing to do is collect money from those that want to participate to defray the costs of these activities. Yes, there will be families that cannot afford these costs. I believe that if these children, and their parents are truly committed to that child participating then they will search for a person or group of people to sponsor that child.
While I can't prove this, I believe that a families church, place of business, or work place might sponsor such a child. It might well take more than one sponsor to come up with the money. I admit I don't know. What I do know is that the school district cannot lessen the job of learning and still pay for extra curicular activities, and look taxpayers in the eye. Or perhaps the community should find an alternative method to raise the money to pay for these types of things. Money is raised for other worth while causes through various events around town all through the year. The snowmobile club, and motorcycle clubs have poker runs. Perhaps some sort of show or concert could be planned to raise this money. I truly don't know what the entire answer is.
But like I said, we cannot stop providing the things that promote learning, and still keep doing the things that might promote good health, but not learning.
Times are coming, in fact they are here, where a child must have a good education to make it in the world. And the classroom, not the football field, or the swimming pool or the golf course, or the baseball diamond, is where that education will take place. I will promise this though. If it comes to pass that families will have to pay for these activities, I will sponsor one child for $100.00 per year. I am certain that there are more people here in Craig that will do the same.
But teaching, and learning must come first.

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taxslave 3 years, 9 months ago

Announced teacher lay offs this past week....

Rhode Island, 2,000 New York City, 5,000 Boise, ID, 800 WI, CA, OK doing the same.

They were not good stewarts of our money and the money they have borrowed to finance their projects....the interest on this money is breaking the backs of the taxpayer. The game is deficeit financing, wealth out of debt. The more debt the better...same game the federal reserve plays. This is probably why they want to build a rec center and new police station and fire dept. when it's so obvious that we can't afford it....they need more debt to continue on their suicidal mission. It also puts deeper hooks into the tax payer.

Again, they need to cut their salaries first and start layoffs from the top.

To continually lay off taxpayers they will soon increase the amount of taxes the remaining workers have to pay.

To the tea party....until all elections are honest, counted in the open, you'll never achieve your goal.

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calvinhobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

a few facts Activity fee at high school is now $85.00 per activity, plus $25 per night for over night stays

Wresting team pays for its Vegas trip with fund raiser money (auction and Grand ol West Days)

Girls basketball raises money with their ball drop and pancake breakfast at grand old west days

Only a few sports charge a gate fee, football and basketball bring in the most gate. So they help fund the other sports that do not charge a fee.

The problem I see with swimming, is the amount of money spent to keep up the pool. Chemicals, heating the water, and repairs. I think the pool is great for the people of the county, but 100 K PLUS a year spent on the pool? That is 3 teachers.

Other districts have went to 4 day weeks (not sure on that one) students pay to ride the bus, cut busing, cut middle school athletics, remove electives and just teach the TESTED materials, but no matter what, wages are the big cost to our district and that is where our students will get hurt, MOCo is the LOWEST funded school in Colorado.

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dogfan 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. facts i think you need to get your facts right.

Fact 5: Yes the elementary students are bused to the high school pool. This is done during their regular PE time. It is only done for 2 weeks out of the school year.

Fact 6: It is NOT a supervised free for all. Have you ever been there when it is happening? I have helped with this program for 8yrs. There is alot of people that take the time to help teach the kids how to swim. The only supervised free for all is on the final day when the kids are allowed to play. If it were not for this program alot of kids would never learn how to swim.

  I have asked you here before and did not see any response from you.  Since you are an expert on everything and have all the answers why are you not running for a public office and putting your infinite wisdom to good use instead of typing it here.
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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact: The window of opportunity that Joe Petrone has to change the attitude of the Moffat County School system is closing.

Fact: The System that Joe came to change is changing him.

Fact: Same old tired argument, " Other school systems get more more money from the state than Moffat County does" Boo Hoo!!!

Fact: Colorado has a very progressive School funding equalization formula. ( In other states it is the have's and have nots) ( Moffat County would be a have!!!)

Fact: Moffat County does not get as much money from the state due to it's good tax base generated from the energy industry. Other communities get more because they don't have that tax base.

Fact: Farm ( Ag) counties don't generate as much money because Colorado chooses to access Ag property at a give away rate.

Fact: Some $10, $15, and $20 million dollar properties in Moffat County do not pay as much in taxes as a $200,000 home!!!!

Fact: The rest of the taxpayers continue to support multi- millonare ranchers. ( What do those millionares contribute to the community???)

Fact: Since all things are equal, Moffat County has no excuses for lagging behind other districts in performance!!!

Fact: Moffat County is landlocked, no need to swim!!! The Pool needs to go!!!!!

Just The Facts of equality ( Swim and sink!!!)

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

To calvinhobbs: $85.00 a year is not nearly enough to pay all the costs associated with a sport like football. with all the equipment necessary, care of the field, transportation to games, and use of the gym for indoor training. And I don't know of any one that sells a room for the night for $25.00. I don't see no reason why all the students should have to suffer for the benefit and enjoyment of a few on these teams.
When the team players pay all the costs of their sport then I will keep quiet. I don't believe that is the case at this time. Education is infinitely more important than playing any sport, no matter which individual child might have the chance to go to the Olympic trials.

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calvinhobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

als- room at 25 a night times 4 to a room is $100, the school shops around and gets a hotel that falls in that price range kids pay all meals while away.

I am not saying that 85 is to much, BUT these kids also do fundraisers over the summer. football does the Bulldog cards girls basketball ball drop, pancake breakfast other sports run concession stands

I also believe that the education is the most important thing about school, I am just pointing out that the 80 boys that play football, 70 or so on the track teams, 50 plus on boys and girls basketball, wrestling, soccer, golf, swimming etc. put in time raising money for their sport. Right now athletics at MCHS are self funded except for transportation (that is getting cut) and coaches salaries.

Team fund raisers will pay for uniforms, equipment and probably have to also cover some transportation.

I think sports should be cut before ANY teacher loses a job.

Facts- read this http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdefinance/generalinfo.htm MoCo was a at the top of the curve prior to the new funding act, we went from the top to the bottom. Shouldn't all school just be funded equally?

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

I find it very difficult to believe that any sports program within this school district is self supporting. Very difficult indeed. I can't remember ever seeing all these kids raising money. It would seem to me that in 31 years I would have seen them at one time or another. Perhaps though I have not been looking in the right places. Where, Mr. Hobbs do these money raising activities take place?

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csualum 3 years, 9 months ago

als362 - The wrestling team sells grilled turkey legs at GOWD and they are a big hit; they also have a prime rib fundraiser once a year in the high school cafeteria that is very well attended. The girls basketball team pancake fundraiser is also during GOWD and the ball drop is during Whittle the Wood (I think). There's probably lots more going on that I'm not aware of. Don't know how much they actually raise, but they do invest time in funding these sports.

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

That explains a lot. I don't attend GOWD, I believe it to be a waste of time and I am fishing then. I have never been nor do I anticipate ever going inside the high school. I also don't attend WTW, too many people to suit me, and too much noise. Like I said before when someone can prove to me that all the sports programs are self supporting I will be still, I doubt that anyone can do that.

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calvinhobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

Just call Mr Ryberg at the administration office. Or Mr Wildenhouse, the activity director at the high school, they can give you exact numbers. I do know that the girls basketball program earns about $4,000 from the ball drop, some of that they do not get it goes straight to the district general fund. Pancake breakfast depends on sales, but last year it seemed pretty busy and most of the food is bought by parents, with kids and parents working. The girls also serve for the buyers sale at the fair, earning some extra money. This I know for a fact as my daughter plays. If you have never stepped foot in MCHS, that explains how you do not see the kids working at concessions, selling tickets for raffles, chili suppers etc. If you do not go to the large community events, that also explains how you do not see them working GOWD, WTW, the fair etc.

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StudentOfTheA 3 years, 9 months ago

To: Onewhocares, Your comment about the Alternative school is offensive and lashes out at the decent and hard working students that go to the alternative school. I myself am a student at the Alternative school and I can honestly say that this school is the best thing that happened to me, it gave me opportunities that I would have never had at the High School. Not all students are able to learn at the pace or in the ways that they teach at the High School. The students here are determined and hard working no matter our reputation. This is not a private school and we are earning the exact same diploma that the High School students will. We work at our own pace and we have to do more work in a shorter amount of time. So to those who think that the Alternative school is a "Waste of money" and for only "bad kids" I must inform you that you're wrong in your outlooks of our education. If it was not for this school i would have ended up not graduating. Sports are important but is it more important then our education? I think NOT! So onewhocares please take into consideration who you lash out at in your statements because this is the next generation.

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AltSchoolRocks 3 years, 9 months ago

@onewhocares The Alternative School is not just a place for misfits and bad kids. It's called ALTERNATIVE for a reason. The kids there obviously need a different way of teaching because the high school failed them deeply. The percentage of kids who graduate at the Alternative School is higher than the kids who graduate at the high school. We wouldn't need an Alternative school if MCHS wasn't so messed up. Why are sports so important? High school is to receive an education. Wow, you can throw a ball around, big whoop. Onewhocares you need to get all the facts before you go around flapping your mouth. Onewhocares, more like onewhofails.

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ALTschool112 3 years, 9 months ago

Dear Onewhocares, The Alternative School Is An Awesome Place To Go When You're Having Difficulties With The High School. Everyone Has Their Different Ways Of Learning, Some Learn Slower Than Others, But That Is Not Why We Go There. We Go There Because We Have Things Going On That We Cant Go To The High School, This Is Most Definitely Not A Private School. We Aren't Trouble Makers We All Want To Learn As Much As Any Other Person. ALT Students Are Not Addicted To Drugs Or Alcohol. The Teachers Work With Us Better Than The High School Does, When you Say Things About Us And The School, You Should Always Get Your Facts Straight : ) -Thank You

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Alternative11 3 years, 9 months ago

@onewhocares- Your comment on the Alternative school was uncalled for in my eyes and in fact the reason kids are here is not because we use drugs/alcohol. I am here because I had a child and I needed more time with her, NOT because I was behind. I will be graduating this May and actually have only one class left, so I am ahead. I would also like to add that we learn about the same things the kids at the high school do, and no less. We have to earn the same amount of credits in the same amount of time. Another thing is that I have always had a terrible time in algebra class. Since I have been here, and had the opportunity to be taught one-on-one (thanks to Mrs. Jazwick) I have finished a math class in a short period of time while also gaining the understanding that I would not have gotten at the high school. In conclusion I believe you need to re-think what you have previously thought because we are not any less or any more than all high school kids.

Thanks, Ashley

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ALTschool112 3 years, 9 months ago

And We Will Have More Kids Graduate Jr Year Here Than The High School Why Are Sports So Great To Have Is It Better For The High School To Have Sports Or Us Kids Graduate, Onewhocares Think About It. If You Get Rid Of The ALT School More Kids Will Be Droping Out!

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Madi11 3 years, 9 months ago

@ onewhocares- I'm an 18 year old Senior at the Moffat County Alternative School. I've been a student here for 2 years and love it. I attended the high school my freshman and sophomore years and it never worked for me. I was harassed and the school didn't do anything for both those years. I wasn't the best student and was terrified I wasn't going to graduate. I heard about the Alternative school through one of my closest friends who graduated a YEAR early. She graduated as a junior. We graduated 15- 20 students last year. If i didn't come here, i probably wouldn't graduate. I have learned more here in 2 years then I learned in my 2 years at the high school. I was highly offended on your comment about we are a bunch of drug addicts and drop outs. That is 100% NOT true. I'm VERY thankful for what this school has to offer. We get the SAME DIPLOMA as the high school students. We are not a private school, we are just as public as the high school. Why would you say students might as well "drop out" than taxpayers having to pay for a school that HELPS kids. Classes we do here are finished within our own time frame. I finished 2 classes in 2 HOURS! The teachers here are amazing and do whatever they can to help every student. They treat all the students here equally and sure helped me. I attend school as a senior and also take a class at the Safety Center to learn to become a police officer. Students here can be just as successful. It doesn't matter what school we go to, it depends on the student. I have an equal opportunity to be in law enforcement just as any Moffat County High School Student, and I'm very good at it. We are all very smart students and come here because we WANT to be successful.... Why judge that? When I told my mom about The Alt. School, she was ecstatic. She loved the idea of Independent study. There ARE successful students from here and I assure you they WILL let you know.

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davidoftheAS 3 years, 9 months ago

To the onewhocares. Why do you have to make fun of the alternative school. I am currently enrolled there and the education is a lot better then the High School. and its better because we get to work at are own speed and don't have to catch up on grades and we don't have to do homework. At the Alternative the teachers actually care for us unlike the teachers at the high school. We at the Alternative school have a high graduation rate unlike the high school. In a months period I have got more work done then a year and a half of public school. We go here because we can not be in a regular environment like public school but yet I bet students at the Alternative school get a better education because we work at are own speed and don't have to worry about failing like at the Alternative school. We have a a better education and a better support of teacher then anyone at the high school. For the onewhocares in more like the one who doesn't care for the education of the next generation of the work force!!!!

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bartee11 3 years, 9 months ago

At onewhocares: I totally disagree with what you have to say about the alternative school. I myself went to the high school 9th grade to 11th grade and now I am a student at the alternative school. And I love it here. Ya we may do our classes different then the high school kids do but we also learn just as much as they do. See we do our work by ourselves. We don't have teachers to teach all our classes so we learn more things than the high school kids do. Our teachers help us when we need it. You think that all the bad kids come here just because they use alcohol and do drugs and couldn't pass their classes at the high school. Well let me tell you that's not the case. I came to the alternative school because I was sick of getting harassed. Ya you may think that there is no reason to come to this school but after three years of going to the high school and nobody doing anything about it you kind of get sick of it. Also a lot of kids that come here work better and faster by themselves than being in a class room with a teacher You asked how many kids go on to a higher education. Well a lot of us do. We are no different from the kids up at the high school. We get the same diploma as they do at the high school. We have the same rules as the high school that we follow. So next time you judge the alternative school get your facts straight first.

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Shablos 3 years, 9 months ago

To onewhocares: Your thoughtless accusations about the alternative school are very offensive. You have not taken the time to see the advantages and rewards of the alternative school yourself. The alternative school was a dream come true for me. Those who come to the alternative school are neither corrupted nor monstrous. As each student learns at a different rate, it is often difficult to learn in a "normal" high school atmosphere. Close relationships between teacher and student seldom come. The alternative school provides a comfortable setting in which each student can reach his or her potential. A closer relationship with the teachers gives us each a chance to learn the material better, as well as help us become kinder and more considerate. Those who wish to advance have a wonderful chance to do so. Instead of balancing several classes at once (quite often forgetting the information learned in time for a test or some other important project), we work on one class at a time, easily focusing our minds on one subject, and usually succeed when we take our finals. I was so pleased at the alternative school (this is my first year in it) that I told my sister about it and she has moved here to actually go to the alternative school! This school has changed our lives for the better and has given us hope and satisfaction beyond what any other school could offer us. I am extremely thankful that I have this school to go to. Without it, I wouldn't have the chance to advance, my on-going fear. THIS IS THE FUTURE. Independent study in which each student works at his or her own pace and chooses how much time will be spent on each class. Once a class is finished, one never has to do it again. In a normal high school, students have multiple classes at once, which can be quite hard to manage. We have no constant homework in which we must turn in several assignments from each class the next day or receive a zero. We work in our own time and our futures are in our own hands. Often high schools are corrupted and in need of many changes. The alternative school has made the corrupt into honorable. We are not closed minded, but rather open minded individuals who are open to change and the unknown. We are giving ourselves the chance to find something great in ourselves, to make ourselves into something exceptional that the normal high school would not. You are not "one who cares" but rather one narrow minded, misinformed creature. We are in fact, getting a higher education than most students at the normal high school. The alternative school is a gift to us all. This high school is more like a family than a "private school". We are all grateful and relieved to have such a school in this town of ours. Onewhocares, if you are still not persuaded, come and check out the alternative school yourself, you will be shocked.

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AltGradStudent 3 years, 9 months ago

@ onewhocares Of all the ignorant people I've met, I think you sir take the cake. I graduated from the alternative school in 2010. I have nothing but the absolute best to say about the alternative school. The alt. school gave me the change to succeed whereas the Moffat County High School gave me nothing but festering hate towards its "leniency" on harassing, and bullying, and what have you. It became such a problem that during my sophomore year I began ditching classes just to escape from all the drama (and I wasn't the only student who did this.) I knew that I would not have a future if I had attended all four years of the high school, and I would've most likely dropped out. I attended the alternative school for three years. The teachers/staff: Chaney, White, and Espenoza helped me regain my appreciation of own self worth, and made me feel as though I can succeed and I can have a future. I paced my self at my classes, finals and tasks at my own speed. Next time you decide to slander something you have almost no knowledge of; at least have your facts in check. Also a word of advice "onewhocares." When you decided to hide behind a computer and bad mouth good students, at least have your spelling and grammar correct otherwise you come off as someone who didn't receive said education. People are smarter than you perceive them as. Good day sir.

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RichardBarbosa 3 years, 9 months ago

Many of you have valid observations, and I hope that the District will listen to you.

As for Mark Rydberg, I cannot be too critical of his dress. It was a meeting and not a press conference, for Pete's Sake. It is unfortunate that his reference to "kids" was interpreted to mean that he does not respect students. I have always had trouble accepting the views of anyone who wears a permanent sneer, however... Dick Cheney comes to mind.

The comment regarding the Alternative School was especially pertinent. It seems just plain wrong that a relatively large percentage of District resources is dedicated to students who simply cannot be bothered to cooperate. Once they leave school, do you imagine that the rest of the world is going to coddle the "alternative" students, make excuses for them, and expend extraordinary resources to achieve their success? I think not, and maybe age 15 is not too young for those students to figure out that they need to grow up, fly right, and cooperate, or else get a job in fast food for the rest of their lives. Who is the staff in the Alternative School? If it is one full-time teacher and two paras, then how about saving the District the utilities and the salaries by cutting the entire "alternative" program?

Another undeserving group that receives a disproportionately large share of the District resources is the gang of illegal alien students. It is beyond ridiculous that illegals from Mexico and regions further south get to spend school time sitting in Spanish class! I am aware that the current and previous Spanish teachers have tried to get the illegals to act as "mentors" to American students in Spanish class. For that, the teachers and students are met with ridicule and derision by the criminal students based upon the Spanish accents of the Americans. It is difficult to imagine how people sneak into our country to steal from our public schools, and then taunt and deride us.

If the District does not plan to replace any retiring or resigning teachers, does that mean that the high school English Department will be reduced to approximately 2/3 of its current number? Probably it does.... and on top of that, the remaining English teachers will have to waste much of their time helping the illegals. Great. That's just great. And we wonder what is wrong with education in America.

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RichardBarbosa 3 years, 9 months ago

Shablos and AltGradStudent: I have re-read your notes, and still I have to ask both of you whether you believe that society and your future employers are going to coddle you and let you work on "one item at a time, so that when it is finished" you never have to do it again. What kind of job would that be, Pray Tell?

As for getting a -0- at the high school for not turning in your work, there is no danger of that with Thom Schnellinger's ridiculous ideas in force. Specifically, he believes that a student should receive credit on an item, even if the assignment is turned in nearly a semester late. The man has no concept of the fact that the student has learned nothing by copying an old assignment already returned by the teacher to a classmate. Neither does he comprehend the waste of time for the teacher to grade assignments on units completed three months earlier. The man is a nimnod. Apparently he has no concept of what occurs in a regular classroom, because for Schnellinger to act like a hall monitor while kids sketch, play with clay, and listen to music does not even faintly resemble what occurs in core classes.

I am sorry to hear about the ongoing bullying in the high school. It seems that that should be a problem better addressed by the School Board when it decides to show Schnellinger the door.... and the sooner, the better, for myriad reasons.

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

@ Onewhocares and others - You seem to expect everyone to conform to the “the norm of society”, and that MCHS should be the only option for students. It’s the 21st century – get real. Everyone has their own personal needs, and you can’t expect MCHS to fulfill them all. I was absolutely miserable at my old school. Teachers would pile on the homework, and I would get anywhere from 1-2 hours of sleep before I had to start the day again (but it was often less – i even went 48 hours without sleep before). I decided that my education was more important than my health, and in doing so, I really had to pay for it. My health went downhill, and I could barely concentrate throughout the day. I would often fall asleep in class, and the teachers would look at me like I was lazy and didn’t care, but that was untrue. In fact, I probably cared even more about my education than many others, but it certainly didn’t look like it. Taking all those AP classes was probably a mistake, but that’s how much I cared. I was so exhausted that I could barely keep myself awake. I was living through a haze...homework homework and more homework. My live revolved around homework. I would often get sick because I wasn’t getting the sleep I needed, which in turn made doing homework even more difficult (missing the occasional day – leading to more make-up homework, trying to do homework with a headache/migraine or nausea). ~there's more~

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

(continued) The teachers weren’t very understanding. They didn’t really care, because you were 1 face out of hundreds they saw every day. Their main goal was to get through the class – not actually to teach you anything. Most of my classes had 35+ students. I wasn’t really taught on a person-to-person basis. Teachers would read out of textbooks and automatically expect you to understand the concepts. Any confusion from students was met with irritation from the teacher, since the teacher would see that as an indicator that the students weren’t listening close enough. Every day after school I would have a quick break and then start my homework. By 12am I still wouldn’t have my homework finished. Even the all-nighters couldn’t get the homework finished sometimes. I had an ever- mounting pile of homework that couldn’t be depleted because more homework would be added the next day. Teachers seemed to forget that homework was also assigned from other teachers also. I had 7 classes. The amount of homework was impossible to finish, and I would constantly suffer from it. I would worry about my homework while at school, and would even work on it during lunch time, my supposed break. Upon arriving home, I would get anxiety attacks and worry that I wouldn’t get the homework finished (which was often the case). ~there's more~

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

(continued) Although I would be working on my homework almost 24/7, my grades STILL went down. And aren’t grades everything? You get bad grades and then can’t get into a good college. That was my goal – to get into a good college, and I was starting to feel devastated. I felt like a failure, and there was nothing I could do about it. Doing my “best” still wouldn’t cut it. My sister previously had moved to Craig in August (2010) and while doing so, was telling me about her experience here. She said it was “ a dream come true”. She eventually persuaded me to come here to Craig. It was a big decision, but I decided that I’d had enough from my old school and that my future was in my hands. I could continue in anguish or do something that could really alter my life – for the better. I moved 134 miles from my old city to Craig to come to the Alternative School. That has to say something! I can honestly say that moving here and going to the Alternative School was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I truly feel like the teachers actually care about me. They actually want me to succeed. I’m not so stressed over homework, and finally have time for other activities. I’m actually getting the sleep I need. I’m finally getting the grades I deserve (don’t mean that in a self-conceited way). Right now I’m certain I can get into a good college, but that doesn’t mean I’ll start slacking off. I won’t use the Alternative Alternative School as a safety net, but instead I’ll use it to my advantage. I now have new opportunities. ~there's more~

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

(continued) Now of course you probably think I’ve told you my life story, but I can’t stress how inaccurate that would be. I’ve written a lot already, but I’m going to have to address a couple more issues. - My parents put me into school late (not my choice), so I’ve been in the wrong grade my whole life. I’ve inquired about moving up a grade countless times (in elementary and JH), but teachers would never give me a chance. They said it was impossible and that I couldn’t do it – therefore they wouldn’t even give me a chance. When HS finally arrived, I had accepted that I would just have to live with it. I always felt left behind because i was 2 years older than most in my grade and hated it, but couldn’t do anything about it. The thought of graduating at almost 20 (along-side some 17 year-olds!) made me sick, but I had to live with it. Going to the alternative school was life-changing. They told me that I could move up a grade or even graduate early. They haven’t discouraged me by telling me I will never be able to do it. Moving up a grade has always been a dream of mine, and I can finally accomplish it :). - I had to move away from many family members (whom I love and miss dearly) to come here. Saying goodbye isn’t always easy…but this was for my future. - There’s so much more to life than school, or there should be. Because I was “obsessed” with homework, I had no social life. Isn’t high school at least partially about meeting people and building communication skills? The teenager years are also a time for exploration. People find out what subjects they really enjoy and get to invest time into hobbies. I’m not saying I never had time to do any of that (I do know what interests me and what activities I enjoy) but if you’re working on homework all the time, you have less of a chance to do that and discover who you are. - School is only one part of a person’s life. There’s a home life too. Not everyone is so fortunate to have a good home. Going to school should be somewhat of an escape instead of even more misery, and yes I do mean MISERY. - By now you must be wondering how I could be suffering so much and how other kids could finish everything and still get good grades. Well everyone has a different life. I had complications at home plus like any normal teenager, I had chores and daily things I had to attend to. I also took on AP classes, which took up a lot of time. I was hoping it would help my future, but it actually it just made things worse. More advanced classes = more homework. - At many schools, there are disruptive students. You would expect the school to do at least something about it, but some schools still fail to fix the problem. It is very difficult to concentrate in class when students are screaming, yelling, talking loudly, and laughing and the teachers do nothing about it. Or if the teacher does do SOMETHING, it usually results in students crying or the teacher yelling, which can just escalate the problem. ~more~

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

(continued) - Sleep is very important to the health of a teenager. Sleep deprivation can result in stunted-grown and the downward spiral of health. The image of a student sleeping in school is often associated with laziness and a lack of care for education. I do admit this is sometimes the case, but you can’t set this up as the going rate for all students. - Students are already pressured to get excellent grades and get into a good college, and sometimes to excel at a sport that has nothing to do with their educational pursuits for college. This pressure can motivate a student to some extent to do well in school, but often can push a student over the edge. This is when students can turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with all the stresses of school and home-life. (And NO not ALL students turn to drugs and alcohol). All this excessive stress can even lead to major depression (and suicide) and eventually lead to a student dropping out of high school because they just can’t deal with it. You said these are simply the facts of life and you have to deal with it, but no, a student shouldn’t have to deal with this amount of stress. Life wasn’t always like this. My dad grew up in the 50’s and said he definitely didn’t have THIS much homework and this much stress. These days students are expected to learn much more in school than past generations did. Yes, this can benefit the nation in some ways, but it also takes away from it. Will future generations have even MORE pressure to have to cope with? When is enough ENOUGH? - Even writing this causes me stress, because I remember how much I was (literally) suffering and it brings back all the feelings I had back then. I can’t emphasis the importance of this school enough! If this school didn’t exist I really don’t know what would have happened. ~there's more~

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

(continued)

Now I probably have given more information about my life than anyone needed to know, but I (along with others) need to expel this ignorance! Who are you to put all teenagers in the same category and assume they all can work under the same educational standards? You need to understand that everyone has their own story and you can’t pretend you’ve already heard it. Sometimes exceptions NEED to be made or a student will fall down and never get back up. The teachers at the Alternative School are here to help students get back on their feet, something not all teachers are willing to attempt. I applaud them for that. The current students, grad students, and teachers at the Alternative School are passionate about this issue. We may never be able to convince you that the Alt. School has helped more people than you could possibly imagine, seeing as you’re so narrow-minded you can’t comprehend anything but what YOU perceive of the world, but hopefully we’ll be able to convince others. I might “only” be 17 (18 later this year) but I can surely debate on this topic as well as you can. Seeing as you aren’t even going to the Alt. School (and probably never have in the past), I’m sure any student/teacher can make a better argument than you can. BRING IT ON.

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

wow i really did write about some pretty personal things, but hopefully it'll open up your mind to what kids/young adults are facing these days.

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Shablos 3 years, 9 months ago

To RichardBarbosa: You apparently have not "re-read" our notes because you obviously haven't comprehended a single thing we have said. We are not being "coddled" but rather given support that will allow us to succeed in this corrupted society of ours. AltGradStudent is right, we may not be good at multitasking but being forced to multitask not only damages our health, but damages our learning capabilities as well. Maybe a long time ago it was easier to do, but now, the world has changed and things will never go back. The world is quickly depending on students to get more and more education, much further than before, and soon IT WILL BECOME CHAOS. The children and young adults of the world are the future. Without us succeeding the world will diminish.

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RichardBarbosa 3 years, 9 months ago

Shayla, you have made one gigantic assumption that simply does not apply to me as a classroom teacher. I have never been "big" on homework assignments. In fact, the best philosophy dictates that homework should be nothing more than a short review/reinforcement of what was learned in class that day, i.e. maybe a 10-15 minute assignment max. If a student has four core classes, then homework should be no more than one hour that evening.

Of course, when students cut class once or twice per week, then they clearly will have a lot of "make-up" assignments to turn in........ but Shayla, do you also blame the teachers when the students cut class, or when a student leaves to go to the restroom, and instead drops off at the locker room to steal money while she is supposed to be in class? I have had it all happen, and none of those issues can be blamed on the teachers, can they?

I most often do something else in my classes. I reserve the last 10-12 minutes of class for students to complete their "homework", so that I am present to help them, and so that they will not have to take it home, as long as they use their class time wisely.

This is the important point: My students know that if they do not complete the "homework" during the class time set aside for it, then and only then will they have work to do at home that evening.

Even knowing that fact, you would be surprised at how many students waste time, try to distract others, text message under their desks, get none of their work done at the end of class, and therefore do have work to take home that night. The reason for that presumably is their immaturity and inability to plan and schedule their time..... and I don't know how you can blame all of their teachers for that problem, Shayla.

A big part of growing up is to take personal responsibility, Shayla. It sounds like you are not there yet. In a perfect world, perhaps all students would have an IEP and a 1:1 teacher/student ratio in class. If that is what you want, maybe a private school costing your parents $25-K per year is the answer for you. For those in public school, a huge degree of conformity and standardization is necessary.

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S-1993 3 years, 9 months ago

@ RichardBarbosa, you have made the assumption all the teachers use the same method of teaching as you. you are very misinformed.

I can see you're one of those close-minded people who like to put themselves on a pedestal, just because you're an "adult" or a "teacher". The assumption that the majority of students ditch class and the fake perception that all teenagers steal is downright irrational. Just because you've had it happen before doesn't give you the right to expect all teenagers will.

Can you even comprehend that not all teachers "set aside time" to do homework at the end of the class? Not all schools work under what you call the "best philosophy". More schools than you know use homework not as a review, but to teach students subjects that couldn't be covered in class.

I am aware of this "texting under the desk, goofing off the whole time in class" business. That's why the alternative school is a life saver! i don't have to deal with that. in fact--students shouldn't have to deal wit it at all. Maybe if teachers did their JOB, it wouldn't happen. You think it is the student's fault for getting nothing accomplished because other students are hindering their ability to learn? Ever tried to focus on a task while other people are distracting you? It's impossible without bringing some sort of sound blocking mechanism or going into another room (which isn't allowed). Under these circumstances, inability to focus isn't a problem of immaturity. get that through your head.

Why must people go a private school to access a more desirable learning environment? this behavior shouldn't be tolerated even at normal high schools, but of course this isn't going to change.

You need to stop undermining people just because you think you know best. Maybe you should practice a bit of empathy...it might do you some good.

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AltGradStudent 3 years, 9 months ago

@Shayla1993, you now have my full respect. You truly understand what it means to be a part of the alternative school and how it actually works. People who have little to none experience with the alt. school have no right to bad mouth/slander it. Nice to see that other people of the alt. school don't back down from these certain types people. Makes me glad to have been a part of the Alternative School. We will always have a say in it.

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AltGradStudent 3 years, 9 months ago

@RichardBarbosa You said in a previous comment. "classroom teacher" If you are a teacher, then I can answer your question: "Why does it make any financial sense for the District to spend a disproportionately large number of tax dollars to provide you with this warm, fuzzy atmosphere, when the problem is that you refuse to behave and have no respect whatsoever for your fellow classmates? Huh?" Simply put, because pathetic teachers such as yourself couldn't teach us right. Instead they come onto these forums and bad mouth good kids. And if what I read is correct: "Moffat public schools receive $6,965 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $5,678. There are about 9.5 students per teacher in Moffat." So it's not as if we're bumming a free ride; regardless if a student is at the high school or the alt. school we still earn the county money for being in school. So give yourself a big pat on the back sir. And if I may ask you a personal question Richard: What subject are you involved in? Sports?

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