Save the Skier Sentinel |

Save the Skier Sentinel

It would be a shame if budget cuts at the Aspen School District force the elimination of the Skier Sentinel. A high school newspaper is a part of campus life, a voice for the student body and a valuable educational tool. We hope the Sentinel can survive the next round of cuts, but – like so many other worthy local projects – it may take some help from the community.The district has ordered the high school to lower its expenses by $200,000 in the 2005-06 school year. According to Principal Kendall Evans, that’s the equivalent of two and a half teaching positions. The district isn’t firing any teachers, but will not replace those who are leaving or retiring.That means the remaining teachers will be asked to take on the work left behind by those leaving, unless some activities are eliminated. This is a lot to ask of teachers, so understandably Evans and other administrators are considering program cuts in several areas.These are hard decisions for the district, but we’d like to put in our two cents for the school newspaper.Just as a local newspaper is a vital part of a community, so is a school newspaper a vital part of the school. It’s a place for students, guided by faculty, to celebrate achievements, pose questions, announce news, voice opinions and record events. As Dave Conarroe, adviser to the Sentinel, stated in our pages earlier this week, “I think journalism is important, and the kids need a voice.”Perhaps more importantly, Junior Fred Barnard, assistant editor at the Sentinel, said, “You’d lose an educational, fun class if it got cut off.”Educational and fun? That’s a rare and valuable combination. (Fortunately, Evans seems to recognize this.)School officials should do their utmost to keep the Sentinel alive, and so should the community. Already The Aspen Times prints the Skier Sentinel at no cost to the district, and we hope residents and school officials can explore other ways for the community at large to help save the school newspaper.It’s amazing how far volunteerism and civic-mindedness can go. And this valley just happens to excel at those things.

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