Shared effort in education commendable
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' proposed budget gave Eudora USD 491 and three surrounding districts an added reason to cheer.
Eudora Superintendent Marty Kobza said the governor's promise not to cut education removed one possible roadblock to offering vocational classes at the current middle school next fall. Although it is realized the governor's recommendation is not the final word, past Legislature's have approved 90 percent of what the governor proposed. That, Kobza said, gave the district confidence to proceed with the vocational education plan.
The seasonably warm dry weather that provided excellent construction conditions removed another possible obstacle. Progress on Eudora's new high school is moving forward at such a pace there is little fear it will not be open in August, thus freeing the shop and annex at the middle school for alternate uses.
Starting next fall, the school district plans to offer high school level vocational courses in automotive collision technology, building trades, industrial electronics, health career sciences and hospitality management in current middle school classrooms. It is hoped welding can be added the following year. The classes will be open not only to students in Eudora, but also to those in De Soto, Wellsville and Basehor-Linwood as well. The districts formed a consortium that shared the expense for the equipment needed for the courses. The districts' tuition payments will pay off that capital investment in the next three years. After that, Kobza said tuition should be much more affordable.
The consortium will open other avenues for Eudora teens. Next fall, De Soto will offer courses in agriculture and commercial printing.
The consortium approach is commendable. It has allowed districts to offer opportunities they couldn't afford or justify with their limited budgets or resources alone. Such cooperatives are common for special education. It seems possible they could be applied for such things as classroom teachers for advanced academic classes, health professionals and substitutes. We would encourage the state to award districts for such multi-district efforts that ultimately save tax dollars while offering greater opportunities.