Maybell School to re-open next year |

Maybell School to re-open next year

School board makes long-term commitment to one-room schoolhouse

Lauren Blair
Maybell resident Janice Edwards keeps grandson Payson Vernon busy during Thursday night's school board meeting. Nearly twenty Maybell residents responded with smiles and applause after the board passed a resolution to open the Maybell School in the coming school year and to make a commitment to the community to keep it open for years to come.
Lauren Blair

— Despite a June 25 board decision to suspend Maybell School for another year, a wellspring of new momentum from Maybell parents and community members landed the question of the school’s future back in front of Moffat County School District Board of Education members Thursday evening.

The board agreed that should they choose to open the school, not only would Maybell parents need to commit to sending their kids to school there long-term, but the district would also have to do its part to fully provide for the needs of students, including hiring multiple staff and/or a special education teacher.

In the past, attendance at the Maybell School has dropped off mid-way through the school year, with parents pulling their kids out for one reason or another.

However, Maybell parent April McIntyre presented school board members with a roster of students committed to attending the school.

“We did go door to door,” McIntyre said. “We have a commitment from parents that want to send their kids there this year and a commitment from parents that went to send their kids in the future. We have nine kids consistently. … These are families that have deep roots in the community, they’re not going anywhere.”

The decision also entailed a long-term commitment from the board, in the opinion of several board members and Superintendent Brent Curtice.

“We can’t open and close every other year. It’s not fair to those kids,” Curtice said.

The decision to suspend the school at the June meeting was based on information that there weren’t enough students to make the school break even financially; the magic break-even point is nine students, according to MCSD Director of Finance Tinneal Gerber.

However, the addition of a para-educator, a second teacher, and/or a special education teacher would become an additional cost to the district, one which board members and administrators will have to figure out how to shoulder in light of the current deficit of more than $1 million for the 2015-16 school year.

The decision represents the second in a row to reverse a decision made at the June 5 meeting to strike both iPads and Maybell School from the budget in order to reduce the budget deficit by approximately $250,000. The board voted at the last minute on June 25 to add the iPad initiative back to the final budget before ratifying it.

The decision on Maybell, nonetheless, was met with applause from Maybell community members, who packed the board room to voice their support for the school.

“I’m just really excited to know that my kid will be able to attend a small school,” said Kacey Lyons, who’s daughter is currently only six months old. “We’re all like a big family. We just moved to Maybell two years ago and already we’ve been kind of adopted into it.”

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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