School enrollment, the DARE program and the school district music program were all topics presented to the school board this week
District Superintendent Gary Peterson announced for the second consecutive month that student enrollment is down by about 40 from last year's figures standing at 3,160 students as of March 2. If this drop in enrollment continues to hold through the year it could cost the district up to $200,000 on next year's budget. Adjustments in the average enrollment won't be made until May, so budgeting projections will continue based on last year's figures.
District music program is upbeat
Jan Boles along with Rocky Miner representing the district's music committee, announced that the music program in Crook County schools is gaining momentum. Currently they are discussing curriculum and developing a district calendar in an effort to keep from overlapping student programs. Miner said that the group is looking at setting up a more consistent K-12 music program which eliminates conflicting programs. A new curriculum would give the younger students an opportunity to learn the basics of music education so that by the time they reach high school, they will all be at the same level. Boles indicated that they will be offering beginning band at the grade school level.
Federal view of DARE has impact
Dennis Kostelecky reported that the DARE program in Crook County has been put on hold, due to the decision of the federal government to not allow the use of Safe and Drug Free School and Community (Title IV) dollars to fund the program any longer.
According to Kostelecky, the program came under fire after research projects suggested that the program was not meeting expectations. Kostelecky said that the national research leans towards the positive benefits of officer interaction, but does not cite DARE as an effective method for preventing substance abuse or delinquency.
Although a new program is under development by the federal government and is being tested randomly at select communities, funding for the DARE probably will not be offered at the national level again for some time. In the meantime, funding for the continuation of Crook County's DARE program will have to be discussed at the local level.