“Mr. Smith leaves a legacy of collaboration, shared vision, innovation and state recognized schools of excellence,” noted Superintendent Kyle Schumacher in a letter to parents announcing the resignation of Smith, who has worked in the district for 12 years.
“We appreciate his letting us know early about his plans,” Schumacher said in a telephone interview.
In light of Smith’s announcement, Smith said, the district is currently “exploring what different options exist” in terms of managing the 718 students currently enrolled in Telluride schools.
“Right now, we’re really in the beginning stages of exploring what are the different options out there,” Schumacher said.
“Obviously, budget constraints continue to affect us greatly,” he said, and so “how can we be more efficient” will be a key consideration.
Next year’s enrollment projections are expected to keep pace with those of this school year, with “about 79 kids” expected to enroll in kindergarten in August 2012 – a figure, Schumacher observed, that’s “about the same as this last year.”
But “the number of kindergarten students coming in after that does look like it might fall off a little bit,” Schumacher said, an assessment he said is shared by school officials and by the Colorado Department of Education.
Unlike many resort towns, Schumacher said, Telluride’s student population has continued to grow despite the recession, a fact he attributes at least in part to the fact that “second homeowners are moving here” with their families, although not necessarily permanently.
And so, on the heels of “the really great growth this year,” he said, “we look forward to [growth] next year,” and thereafter, to stabilize.
Physically, the high school, Schumacher said, “certainly has some room for growth,” with changes made to maximize use of its space, “and the same thing is true with the intermediate/middle school” that abuts it.
“The elementary school will be more tough,” he said, of the historic structure a city-block away that needs four classrooms for three of its four grades (the third grade has just three classrooms).
As Telluride goes, Schumacher said, goes the nation: “Nationally, you’ll see a bubble” going through the system, that will peak next year, “and then go back down.”
In his letter to parents, Schumacher wrote, “We are currently reviewing all of our options as we look at administrative options for Telluride School District. This process will be detailed in future communications as we evaluate the best next step. The Board of Education, along with the TSD staff will be the first group of people with which I will be discussing options. I am confident that we will make the best decision based on all the information that we have, the vision that we develop, and the goals that we set for our schools and district. Thank you for your patience in this process. Please join me in thanking Steve for 12 wonderful years of service to the Telluride School District. His imprint will not soon be forgotten.
SENIOR FISCHER HAZEN WINS BOETTCHER FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP
Fischer Hazen, a senior at THS, is one of 40 recipients of the 2012 Boettcher Foundation Scholarships. Boettcher Scholars are awarded “full-ride” merit-based scholarships to attend a college or university within the state of Colorado. Recently announced by Tim Schultz, the president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation, the list of Boettcher Scholars includes some of the most promising young people from across the state. In fact, just to be eligible to apply, each student must be in at least the top 5 percent of their class, with a combined score of at least 1200 on the Critical Reading and Math Sections of the SAT or a score of at least 27 on the ACT.
“The goal of the Boettcher Scholarship program,” said Schultz, “is to keep the best talent in Colorado here by connecting them with the outstanding opportunities offered by our in-state institutions. We know that these students will become leaders on their campuses and continue serving others with their gifts....” The scholarship covers virtually all college expenses, including full tuition, fees, a book allowance and an annual stipend for living expenses. The award is granted for eight semesters at either a public or private four-year college or university in Colorado, so long as the recipient maintains a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Over 1,300 students applied; Hazen is the Telluride School District’s first Boettcher Scholarship recipient in 25 years.