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Looking ahead to positive school year

Yellow buses will begin rolling down the highways of the South Shore today. School bells will be ringing at the lake in Douglas County this morning. Lake Tahoe Unified School District students have eight more days until their first day of school. Lake Tahoe Community College students have another month of vacation until classes start Sept. 22.

It is a time of year that even though the calendar clearly says summer, it feels a bit like fall. Going back to school has a way of skipping forward to the next season.

Football practice has been under way for some time. It is not the only fall sport where the athletes return to school long before a book is opened.



It is a year that many are approaching with a bit of trepidation. There are changes and uncertainties around every corner. The class of 2004 at South Tahoe and Whittell high schools will graduate under the leadership of a first-year principal. Both communities are hoping these women will bring something to the post that their predecessors were missing.

It is a time when money seems to be the one constant between the three educational systems — or the lack of it. Nevada and California struggled to pass multimillion dollar budgets this year. A keen eye was kept on what students need, and as the dust settles we will see if the students are left to carry the burden of others.



There is talk in Douglas County of teaching to tests. One has to wonder if the curriculum needs revamping or if the theory behind the need for state and federally mandated tests should be rethought.

Education is a tricky business. Maybe because it is a business that gets caught up in situations that have nothing to do with what is going on in the classroom. There are so many directions that teachers and districts are pulled — so many requirements that it is not a surprise that we are left with mediocrity.

How does a system filled with bright individuals — students, teachers, administrators — get so bogged down that the infighting begins to tear at the fabric which makes it such a special place? The unified district ended the last school year with fingers being pointed and a resolution that the majority could embrace seemingly unattainable.

It is time to find answers. We know the problems. We know the district needs more than a Band-Aid approach to stop the fiscal bleeding. It needs long-term planning. It will require compromise from all. And this will mean a tightening of the belt for everyone. It is a small district. It will not be able to provide everything. This is a simple reality that needs to be accepted.

The college in its catalog for the fall quarter warns prices may go up after it was printed. Fortunately community college education in California is still one of the best bargains around. A few extra dollars for higher education will be worth it.

Education at any level should be supported no matter if a person has children or intends to use the facilities themselves. The betterment of our citizens in turn betters our society.

Our students deserve better than to bicker away another school year.


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