Each week, I read the comments about the School District levy and its needs. First, I am all for upgrading the schools who are bursting at the seams. But what concerns me is the lack of accurate information.
First of all, I was educated in Blaine County first through 12th grade (there was no kindergarten). I was in the first-grade class that was split and I attended first grade in 1956 at the Miner’s Hall on Second North (now a residence). When I was in the fourth grade, in 1959, the community started looking at expanding schools. Money was spent on bonds and overrides, to no avail.
As eighth-graders, all the students in Ketchum, Hailey, Bellevue and Carey grade schools asked if we could go to the public and see if we could make a difference. So, we were loaded on buses and visited all four communities, asking folks to pass a bond that would build new buildings (1963). The bond was for new elementary schools in Hailey, Bellevue and Ketchum, an addition to Hailey High School (that became Wood River High School in the fall of 1964) and a new school at Carey.
Finally, the bond was passed and my senior year (1968) we moved into what is now part of the upper section of the Halley Elementary. The high school was on the hill and Halley Elementary in the lower section. High school and elementary students didn’t have to go to the Catholic Parish Hall for school lunch anymore. However, we shared the Hailey Elementary cafeteria with the elementary students. The only existing building that remains from the 1938 build is the gym. The massive mazes that Hailey Elementary has now have come in the last 15 years. Before the maze, every elementary school in Hailey and Bellevue had annexes as the student body grew.
I do believe we need a safer school at Hailey Elementary, more room at Hemingway for an expanding student body and upgrades and expansion on other schools. I have strong feelings about Hemingway getting an expansion because those students who are sixth through eighth grade should be going to school close to home, not bused 12 miles away.
The children and their safety are very important and we need to make expansions across the district. We also need a plan for Wood River middle and high schools, because with the growing student bodies it won’t be long that our upper schools will be overflowing.
However, please get the facts right. This is what gets the district in trouble. I am not the only one that knows the history—and now as a senior citizen, I understand the concern of those taxpayers who are afraid of yet another tax increase.
Jeannie Bradshaw, Hailey