City wants meeting | CraigDailyPress.com
Christina M. Currie

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City wants meeting

Council wants to help school district improve

Craig City Council members hope that school district officials will look upon an invitation to meet as an offer of support rather than criticism, but both likely will surface if the two entities get together.

Councilor Tom Gilchrist, also a chemist for Tri-State Generation and Transmission, said the Craig Station power plant’s human resource director reports that 80 percent of Moffat County High School graduates who apply for jobs cannot pass an eighth-grade-level entrance exam.

But that’s not the only thing Gilchrist finds troubling. The Community Indicators Report indicates that 18 percent of Moffat County seniors did not graduate in 2003 — the highest level in four years. And the district charted the lowest CSAP scores among four Northwest Colorado school districts in four out of eight grade levels. Moffat County’s juniors scored an average of 16 out of 32 on the ACT in 2004. The state average was 18.8.

What Gilchrist is proposing is a partnership.

“This is an offer of support, not to tell them their business,” he said.

He’s proposing a joint meeting based on regional experiences he’s had that prove the adage “two heads are better than one.”

“We can leverage a lot of resources if we work together,” he said.

What city officials don’t know, though, is whether the school district would be open to meeting. Craig Mayor Don Jones will meet Tuesday with Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan to discuss the possibility.

Sheridan was out of the office Friday and could not comment.

The concern that Councilor Bill Johnston has is that the city might get what it’s asking for. There’s always a way to improve, he said, but that’s usually accomplished with money.

Gilchrist wants to establish the joint goal of putting Moffat County education in the top 25 percent nationwide in every category that can be measured.

One of his concerns is the economic effect of having a school system that charts less-than-stellar numbers. The quality of the school ranks high among families looking to relocate.

“I like our school system. I think they do a good job; I’d just like to see them do better,” Gilchrist said. “Whatever we can do to support the school system, I’d like to look at.”

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.