Letter to the Editor

A vote against the school bond

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Editor,

It does not make sense to keep the elementary and junior-senior high schools split up.

The alumni of both Culbertson and Trenton attended a K-12 school. Why was that format ever changed? Those for the bond say, "Why change what's working?" It was working fine before the K-12 was divided.

Keeping the schools together allows more unity for school spirit, gives junior high and high school kids the chance to work with elementary kids, and gives the elementary kids older kids to look up to.

It allows sharing of resources, would be more beneficial in the long run environmentally and economically to heat/cool one facility, allows for one cafeteria, computer lab, library, etc., and saves on maintenance, janitorial, and cafeteria staff.

It makes sense to have one facility and have the kids being bussed to and from one facility. This way, they're not going from one school to another for class, practice, etc. The price of fuel isn't going to get any lower anytime soon. One location means bussing less and kids driving less. This would save both the school district and the parents.

With the elementary in one town and the junior-senior high school in another, it still does not end up fair in the end.

If all the extra curricular activities are held in one town, then that town is the only one benefiting from those events. The other community is left behind with the businesses not receiving any of the profit from out-of-town patrons as well as the local patrons attending those events. Supporters of the bond talk and talk about keeping it fair ... is it really fair how it's set up now?

There is no reason why the costs could not be brought closer together ... let's be thrifty people.

Sell the unused location and facility, or both if a whole new facility is built in between. Sell the old lockers and desks and take bids for salvagers to take out copper, iron, whatever else can be sold.

Sell the building brick by brick to alumni -- who wouldn't want a small piece of the history of our schools? If the current designers can't come up with a plan that is a similar cost for one facility rather than two, then maybe the school board should be doing some shopping around for a different design firm, one that can work with the needs and voices of the communities.

I will no longer be accused of not caring about having a school in Hitchcock County, be accused of not wanting what's best for the future of Hitchcock County, and not caring about the kids.

I simply have the opinion that what is best for Hitchcock County and our children and our school is to not spend a ridiculous amount of money on two school locations. We have to make a long-term decision for what's best for our school. It doesn't matter what the class numbers are this year, we cannot anticipate what the class numbers are going to be in five or 10-plus years. Let's build one facility that will stand the test of time.

Kristyn Clapp


Culbertson, Nebraska

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  • So You Are stating that because there is only a Elementary School with 175 students...(Trenton only has 100 students)... Culbertson Never gets any benafits... There might not be any High school games played there... there are plenty of opprotunities to visit Culbertson Elementary..Parent-Teachers, Gradparents day, The Homecumming Bonfire, Holiday Parties... Elementary Basketball which is Held every sat for almost 3 months..The K-store always has customers after these event.. The Christmas progam is held in Culbertson..The High School uses the stage for their play every Year.and gym for basketball practice.... . Comming up on May 13 the elementary shall hold their Track meet...Patrons shall use the Culbertson businesses...For this is the only Track meet held in Hitchcock County.

    If Culbertson believes that they have lost out on so much money to Trenton... Look at the facts Trenton has more choices a gas station with indoor bathrooms, full deli, Free internet, and updated pumps... 3 places to eat within 3 miles and A GROCERY STORE ...

    As a citizen of hitchcock county I prefer my money to stay in my county and support all HCS activities. Look at all the jobs that would be lost if either town lost there school.

    Thats why my vote is that if you want one school I believe it should be in Trenton....

    If People whould come to more meeting then they would know that the school is planning on using as much as they can from the old buildings to furnish the new... There will be no new desks. It has been stated that some contractor's bids include salvaging some materials....If anyone has any intrest of salvaging materials or bricks im guessing the board would be happy for your assistance...

    When Stratton merged with Dundy.. Strattons high school wing and gym was tore down.. People could call and ask for bricks, one patron took the gyn floor and cut it into strips in which he gave to alumni, there was an aution for unused materials...

    -- Posted by hitchcockmom on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 3:15 PM
  • Well said hitchcockmom. I totally agree with you.

    -- Posted by i'minformed on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 3:53 PM
  • To answer why "the format was changed", I do not believe any one site was able to hold the student population when Culbertson consolidated with Trenton and Stratton. However, I've been wrong before. As far as bussing and hvac, costs were a wash in comparison to keeping two sites. The only savings I've noted was "if" they got rid of some staff at a savings of $36,000 a year. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    It would take 36 years to pay the difference of the two current bonds, this wasn't including the extra costs that weren't presented in the $8.7M bond.



    -- Posted by bberry on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 5:58 PM
  • If you put the schools into 1 locations the savings on utilities, upkeep, and the salaries of a secretary, 2 cooks, and a janitor you would be saving almost $360,000. With a new building it would also be more energy efficient then the 2 old building even with the updates.

    -- Posted by lazyf on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 8:36 PM
  • It was my understanding the utilities we're a wash from the school board meeting, and we would save $36,000 yearly, regardless of multiple sites. I'm unsure of the difference of upkeep, but if no difference this would mean the 4 positions earn an average of $81,000 a year. Are you sure this is correct? If so, any idea where I can find this information?




    -- Posted by bberry on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 9:11 PM
  • Hitchocockmom - I did not attack anyone or any town. I'm not calling names and I'm not misleading voters as some others have chosen to do. I also did not say at which location the school should be. I would be just as agreeable to a country school, somewhere in between or in Trenton or Culbertson. Also, I simply quoted one of the main arguments of people for the bond which is the fairness of two locations, and it technically isn't 'fair' the way it is and will not be no matter what decision is made.

    Bberry - What happens when/if enrollment is down and/or gov't funding is down in 5 or 10 years and we have two school buildings that we're still paying for? Do we pick one of them to keep open? Do we lock the doors on the other and then have a facility that was only meant to house K-6 or jr./sr. high that we're trying to make work for a K-12? Since neither facility could house the K-12 before and that's why they were split, then why wouldn't we try to avoid a similar problem in the future?

    Kristyn Clapp

    -- Posted by mom2mom on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 10:20 PM
  • I'm a little confused. If/when enrollment is down and/or funding is down as the opposition to the current bond claims...why would you support building one K-12 site at twice the money or more? If there won't be enough students to keep the two sites that we have now...there won't be enough to keep one K-12 site open either. There are the same number of students whether there is one site or two.

    -- Posted by falconparent on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 11:14 PM
  • Kristyn, to address your concern, when operating costs are very comparable I would believe the same thing would happen regardless of one or two sites even if enrollment goes down. However, if funding is reduced, how can we justify spending more money ($1.3M+) on a school? Just my thoughts.



    -- Posted by bberry on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 7:10 AM
  • I know for a FACT that no custodian, cook, or secretary at HCHS makes $81,000 a year. However, you might ask and they would like to! Let's please keep the facts just that -- facts. If your figures are in "fact" over 20 years, that would be approximately $40,000 a year. But I can't see how we can cut any staff with 275 students in one school.

    -- Posted by hitchcockmom on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 8:01 AM
  • Hitchcockmom, if they do indeed do make this amount, I think I will apply to become a janitor. From what I recall from the meeting, they suggested a cook and a janitor spot would be removed, (they informed us they employ 2 1/2 janitors, so I assume the part time would be removed). I recall the estimated savings were between $30,000-$40,000 a year. I do not recall however, them saying they would remove these positions.



    -- Posted by bberry on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 8:13 AM
  • What I don't think alot of people know is the staff have be cut already.The school has 3 1/2 janitors now in both sites. You can look back at one time when it was just Culbertson they had 2 full and 2 part time. Trenton at one time had 3 full time That adds up to six in my book. The cooking and cleaning is like the heat and cooling it is all based on footage and number of kids you feed.It don't matter one site or two. As far as wages its public imformation go to the bookkeeper and she will tell you.I think we have two great sites love them both my opinion llove to see it stay. Respectfully Falcon#1

    -- Posted by falcon#1 on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 10:40 AM
  • Staff for next year has been cut because there will be only 1 kindergarten class. 1 teacher is leaving. Is enrollment decreasing? It is compared to the past kindergarten classes. True, the censes bureau reported an increase in population the last 10 years, but this is not all children. We need numbers in our school to keep them going. Most of the population increase is retired people moving into the communities.

    Good comments Kristyn.

    -- Posted by soos on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 1:16 PM
  • soos, early indication show there will be around 18-20 students in kindergarten next year. Although this number can't be confimred until the start of the next school year. If this number is close it would be a slight drop off from the current year but still larger then some of the current classes (K-12). As for the reason there will be only one kindergarten teacher I have no idea the reason. I would also like to note it isn't a good idea to determine an increase or decrease of one class to base the argument off of. It is better to look at several years of information. Also, when you look at the class size coming in you have to compare it to the senior class leaving to decide if the student population in going up or down for that one year. When you are talking in the amount of 250-300 students and increase or decrease of a few students every year isn't a big deal. Now if there is a constant decrease over a 5-10 year period that would be cause for alarm. Student populations tend to go in cycles in smaller schools as well.

    -- Posted by carlsonl on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 1:25 PM
  • Soos, how does this relate to the current bond if operating costs are close to the same for one larger school opposed to two schools? I'm struggling to see the logic if enrollment drops, funding drops, we are to pick the higher priced option?



    -- Posted by bberry on Thu, Apr 28, 2011, at 1:29 PM
  • Please do not jump to conclusions...NO Staff has been fired.

    It is my understanding that we only have one teacher for kindergarten so far because Mrs Hoffman and her husband found full time employment at another school...Mrs Hoffman is a great teacher she will be missed... Her husband was the assistant Wrestling coach.

    I believe that the school will wait until the start of school to find out exactly how many students are present..They did the same thing last year.. If there are over the regulated amout of 22 the state will help pay for that teacher....

    People keep predicting that the numbers in our school will keep dropping.. You need to keep in mind the last year of chs 2004 there were only 76 students in K-6. Today we have 175 students in the elementary not including the 2 new students this week...

    -- Posted by hitchcockmom on Fri, Apr 29, 2011, at 1:20 PM
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