Vinland — Much of the Vinland community supports having a school in its midst, according to preliminary results of a poll taken by the newly formed Vinland School Advisory Committee.
As the Baldwin school district studies ways to relieve crowding in the schools, parents and patrons in the Vinland area formed a committee to conduct their own research. Rita Tutschulte, chairwoman, said the group formed in September at the encouragement of Gus Wegner, Vinland Elementary School principal.
The school was closed last June after two engineering firms warned that structural soundness of the school was failing. Classes now take place in the four-classroom annex on the school grounds.
"We have no gymnasium, no library, no cafeteria and we lost a classroom," Tutschulte said. "Everything takes place in that building and because of that, we face some challenges this year."
TEACHERS and other staff have developed innovative methods for dealing with the space crunch, but will welcome a permanent solution, she said. And the committee intends to play an active role in finding one.
According to the committee's by-laws, its purpose is to monitor and communicate the school-related concerns of the Vinland community; facilitate communication among school board members, the community, staff, parents and students; and take action to insure the best possible education for Vinland children.
Its biggest project so far was a mail survey conducted in December of about 275 residents in the Vinland area to gauge their feelings about the grade school. Almost half the patrons, including many who don't have children attending the elementary school, responded to the poll, and initial results look good for the future of the Vinland school, Tutschulte said.
"MOST PEOPLE tend to have a positive feeling about the school," she said. "They want a Vinland school. There are a lot more people who vote than just parents, and the key to a successful plan is if people will put their money behind it."
A Kansas University doctoral student helped draft the survey and will assist in breaking down demographic information and tabulating the results, which committee members hope to present at the Feb. 10 school board meeting. The committee won't recommend specific actions, but it will help the district facilities committee understand the situation in Vinland, Tutschulte said.
Laura Morford, a member of the committee, said she volunteered to serve because she wanted to help the group facilitate communication between the community and school district officials.
"I HAVE three children in this school and I'm real concerned about their education and how and where they're going to get it," she said.
Terri Winegar, committee vice chairwoman, agreed. Her son attends kindergarten at the Vinland school. "I definitely wanted to get involved in the school because I've got the next six years," she said. "I thought this was a good way to have input."
Although the committee presently is focused on space needs, it plans to address other issues as well. For example, members posted a sign prohibiting motorists on a driveway behind the school during hours when children are at the building. They also will look at all aspects of education, and make recommendations when appropriate, Tutschulte said.