Rural KOTA Territory school chugs along - KOTA Territory News

Rural KOTA Territory school chugs along

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Two rural KOTA Territory schools, Spring Creek and Fairburn, will be closing next year to save the school district money, but another rural school seems to be in the clear thanks to an increase in enrollment and support from the community.

Edgemont is a small town with fewer than 800 people, "We have the railroad, we have the ranching, and we have the school," said Dean of Students Lane Ostenson.

So when the Edgemont schools started to struggle, the community opted to pay more taxes; adding about $150,000 a year to the school's general fund. "It's a very close knit community; I think they value the school," said teacher Scott Corbett.

But budget cuts still had to be made, "We cut when we need to and add when we can," said Superintendent Dave Cortney.

He says in the past they've had to cut staff and double teachers duties.

"Oh we're definitely busy," said Mr. Corbett.

He is a science teacher who also teaches Geography now, but his job doesn't stop there. "I've been class sponsor, science club sponsor; I'm currently student council sponsor," Said Corbett. "I started helping like run the clock and things like that for the different athletic events."

"Our staff really looks at what do we need and not necessarily what they want," said Ostenson.

Some cuts are still being implemented. For instance there aren't any school bus routes in the Edgemont area. "It came to a point when we were down to about 125, 130 kids and it became more economical to pay mileage to parents than run the bus routes," said Cortney.

But teachers and administrators say they have high hopes for the future. "I see an enrollment that continues to grow and a lot of our funding is based off student enrollment," said Ostenson. "I see us building back to where we were."

"We've got to hang in there as long as we can and hope that things turn around," said Cortney.

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