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OPINION: Alpine School District Split: Let us not allow fear to take over



The upcoming Alpine School District split question on November's ballot has already caused deep divisions within our community. With four months left until the vote, fear often dominates the discourse surrounding this issue. Like me, I'm sure you always strive to put your kids in the best educational environment to succeed, so resisting the temptation to let fear dictate the narrative is essential. I have my thoughts on the split, but there is no right or wrong answer. There is no good side or bad side to this issue. Each voter has their feelings and will make their decision when filling in the ballot bubble during the General Election.

Change is hard. Each of us reacts to it differently, and coping skills vary widely. This decision will undoubtedly challenge both sides of the debate. If the split passes, there will be challenges to work through but there will also be opportunities that we haven't had before. If the split fails, there will also be challenges and opportunities. I prefer to look at the vision of possibilities, the potential benefits that could arise from this change.

One of the primary concerns raised is the impact on teachers. They worry about their salaries, benefits, and working conditions amidst the unknowns of a district split. It's human nature to fear the unknown. If you've ever gotten a new boss or moved to a new company, the uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach consumes you. With the fear many teachers are feeling, it's essential to consider one basic economic principle: competition. In virtually every other industry, increased competition drives up wages and benefits as organizations vie to attract and retain talent. Public servants like police officers and firefighters often benefit from municipalities' competing to offer better working conditions. We see this every year in our community. Could a divided school district not similarly lead to healthier competition for educators' talents? A potential split may become an unusual opportunity for our teachers.

Parents fear potential cuts to school funding and programs. What if, instead, localized funding leads to increased community support, engagement and better-resourced schools? Local control could allow for tailored program offerings that reflect the values and needs of each distinct region within the district. What if, instead of complaining that district administrator salaries take classroom resources, we envision the possibility of administrators visiting and being involved in every district school regularly? There is an untapped potential for new and exciting partnerships and opportunities for students.

Taxpayers understandably worry about increased costs. While taxes will certainly not decrease in any scenario, split or not, could a smaller, more agile district result in more efficient use of resources and tax money? Could a leaner administrative structure better respond to community needs and fiscal challenges?

There are always pros and cons to any decision of generational significance, which I believe this to be. During the upcoming debates over funding, logistics and the future, we must not lose sight of our ultimate objective: what is best for the children of our community.

I believe the Alpine School District's split should not be about fear but about opportunity. Let our debates and discussions be about what a split or staying together could do for our kids, not tearing down and fearmongering.


Let us approach this question with open minds, empathy for differing perspectives, and a commitment to constructive dialogue. Our kids are watching.

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