We took a tour of some of Cheyenne’s schools last week and we need more than just another brick in the wall. We need roofs and windows too. Honestly, I was a little taken aback at the condition of some of our schools, and how poorly we have been funded in Cheyenne to build new schools that reflect a modernized education environment that can produce the workforce that business now demands.
Before I go too far down this rabbit hole let me send out kudos. I saw dedicated teachers and administrators doing amazing things in very tough environments. I am humbled and amazed at the skill and determination of these professionals to care for our children’s education in less than stellar environments. If you are unaware of the blood sweat and tears that many of our educators pour into our children, you need to make yourself aware of it. Educators, you have our deepest respect, and we are grateful for your commitment to an often thankless task.
Back to the issue at hand. Simply put, some of Cheyenne’s schools are unacceptable. We have about 10 schools that are listed as “insufficient,” and, personally, I would tell you that insufficient doesn’t even come close to describing them. Most of these schools are “Atlas Missile” schools.
What are Atlas Missile schools you ask? Atlas Missile schools are so endeared because they were built in response to the Atlas Missile project in the late 50s and early 60s. It was interesting that Mayor Collins, who had done the school tour a few weeks back, mentioned that he went to school at one of these locations because his father worked in the missile field and that the locations were pretty much the same as they were then. It is imperative that the business community engage first with the state legislature to get these schools upgraded, but we must also look for alternatives as we do not have the luxury of time.
Folks, this is an issue that we need to be keenly aware of and engage on now! Everyday businesses call our office about the workforce and, more pointedly, about the lack thereof. We need a stellar education system and part of that means stellar facilities that provide the best learning environment possible. Certainly, we don’t have to have every bell and whistle, but we do need adequate facilities. There are items in our schools that you took out of your business 30 years ago because it wasn’t efficient. It’s time to get to work. If we truly want to solve our long-term workforce issues, we need to solve this problem now.
Once again, Thank You teachers for all you do and please know that the business community is working diligently to create the facilities that you need to produce “rockstars” for our future workforce.
Your Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1907 and is more than 1,000 members strong. We advocate for business at all levels of government and promote our community to make the region a better place to live, work, and do business. Visit www.cheyennechamber.org/advocacy for more information about our work at your chamber.