GREEN RIVER — The Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No. 2 Board of Trustees renewed Superintendent Craig Barringer’s contract for another year during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.
Barringer’s contract will be extended from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. Additionally, Superintendent Barringer gave an update on the first semester of the school year during the meeting.
Enrollment in the district has gone up 41 students since the previous school year, going from 2,365 to 2,406 students. However, the district is still feeling the loss in funding from the decrease of 185 students in 2020-2021.
“That will be a deficit of about $500,000 in our budget for this upcoming year,” Barringer said.
According to Barringer, SCSD No. 2 is the 11th largest district in the state. The largest class in the district is 10th grade with 244 students, and the smallest is fourth grade with 163 students.
He also reported that 26 percent of students in the district quality for free and reduced meals. The Wyoming average is 34 percent of students. Additionally, 17 percent of SCSD No. 2 students qualify for Special Education.
Throughout the years, Green River High School (GRHS) has amped up its concurrent enrollment with Western Wyoming Community College (WWCC). Barringer said GRHS students can choose between 66 different WWCC classes to take.
“That’s a great step forward,” Barringer said.
Barringer also shared that through the ESSER III grant, the district set up an opportunity for staff to pick up projects and learn at their own pace on educational areas of interest to then incorporate into the classroom. This program is called the SCSD No. 2 Innovative Ideas Program.
“It’s been everything from our food service department to teachers to administrators,” Barringer said.
So far, 72 people have completed at least one project, and eight people have completed two or more projects. The district has paid out $49,000 in stipends for staff to complete these projects.
“We had a teacher say, ‘this is the first time in 30 years that I’ve gotten to choose what I wanted to do,’ so it’s gone over well,” Barringer said.
The school district sent out a survey to stakeholders that consisted of questions on the state of the district. There were 1,599 participants: 1,050 students (grades 5-12), 295 parents/guardians, 245 staff members, and nine building administrators.
Barringer explained that 3.5 or higher is consider a quality score.
“School safety was our highest score across the board,” Barringer said.
When asked whether they thought the schools are a safe place, all four groups of survey participants said it was with an average score of 4.32.
“If you go on Amazon, you’d have a hard time finding ratings that high on some of their products so we’re pretty happy. It’s good to know people think our schools are safe,” Barringer said.
The district also received high scores for Professional Learning Community (PLC) processes, with an average score of 4.33. The participants were asked about if a PLC is in place, whether there are clear written goals, and whether teachers meet regularly.
Barringer said one of the areas the district didn’t do as well in is formal community input into the schools. Participants were asked if students, parents, and the community have formal ways to provide input regarding the optimal functioning of the schools. The average score was 2.89.
“With the pandemic, we really excluded people from our buildings,” Barringer said. However, he said more people are visiting the buildings again and the district needs to do a better job sharing with the community ways for them to be involved in the schools.
Barringer also shared that the district recently had a security assessment done by the Green River Police Department (GRPD) and the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office in the fall of 2022. This was done to review and improve facility safety.
“They came in and did every facility from McKinnon to Granger. We’ve gone through that and we will meet with the GRPD on Friday and go through some of those areas of concern. It’s not real public information but we’ll go through that to see what we can do to shore up some things. Some things you just can’t do anything about just because of the physical structure of our buildings,” Barringer said.
Additionally, the district will be following the 2023 Wyoming Legislative session, which has just commenced. SCSD No. 2 is one of 20 districts in the coalition that has filed a lawsuit against the state in regards to inadequate funding.