Tag Archives: Mountain Valley School news

State Determines Funding for Saguache Schools

Progress is moving right along for the construction of the new Mountain Valley School in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

During our monthly meeting, as the first week of the 72nd legislative session began, the State Board of Education walked across the street to attend the State of the State address. Jared Polis, our new Governor, reiterated his primary education related promise. “Our top priority this session is empowering every single Colorado community to offer free, full-day kindergarten while expanding free preschool to 8,000 more Colorado children.” The state already pays for kindergarten students to attend for half day classes. Many school districts offer full-day kindergarten, using district funds and parent paid tuition to pay for the additional half day. If the state agrees to pay for free full-day kindergarten for all kindergarten students in Colorado, the estimated cost will be an additional $250 million per year.

In the first week of the new session, 107 new bills were introduced. Seventeen of these involved Education. Of the seventeen, five were sponsored by Democrats, four by Republicans and 8 were bi-partisan. From their introduction the bills will pass through the Senate and House committees, and to both Senate and House Chambers before they become law. Many never get that far, but for now, legislators worked into the night to get their five bills written and submitted by the January 10 deadline.

Rep. Joyce Rankin

In addition to following all the legislative activity at the Capitol, the State Board of Education met for two days. One of our duties involved a vote to approve the monthly allocation of state funds to the 178 school districts in Colorado.

Under the public-school finance act of 1994 (Section 22-54-115, C.R.S.), the State Board is responsible for determining the monthly amount of money each school district receives from the state.  At our January meeting, we certified the December 2018 calculations and distribution. All districts and state distribution amounts were listed. The calculations for January through June 2019 will be certified at the February meeting.  All information is available on the State Board of Education website. Here are examples of the state distribution for districts in three counties that I represent: Roaring Fork SD with 5524 students, $1,825,907.67; Garfield 16 with 1163 students, $681,911.92; Meeker with 700 students, $191,591.25; Rangely with 483 students, $288,488.64 and Moffat County with 2106 students, $595,107.88. Throughout all of Colorado, the December distribution totaled $367,678,953.24. (Publisher’s Note: for Saguache and Moffat School District Numbers, connect HERE.)

In another vote, the State Board approved a Charter School appeal for the SKIES Academy. The SKIES Academy Charter application was initially granted, but later revoked, by the Cherry Creek School District.  The State Board found that this was not in the best interest of students, families and the community and remanded the Charter to go back to the local district to work together for a resolution. Charter SKIES Academy, based at Centennial Airport, will be a hands-on, project-based curriculum for 6-8 graders.  It will focus on students desiring a possible career in aerospace engineering, piloting and other aspects of aviation.

Thus we begin the first month of the 2019 legislative session and the first State Board Meeting of the New Year.

Enthusiasm for education never gets old in Saguache Today!

Joyce Rankin is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol. 


Saguache News – August 16

Dawn Breaks Over New Chapter, School Year 

New Dawn Over New School Year Saguache today

The dawn of a new morning breaks over the a new school year and a new school building for 2018-19. It’s back-to-school time in Saguache Today

Back-To-School. While these three little words evoke a variety of emotions this time of year, from a sad goodbye to the carefree days of summer, to the excitement of a new school year! But in Saguache Today, back-to-school is all about community and celebrating a new chapter for Mountain Valley Schools. And yes, well some back-to-school stuff too! So head on over to Mountain Valley School for their Open House Bar-b-que from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Meet the teachers and learn all about the school year. Enrollment packets are currently available and may be picked up from 8 .m. – 4 p.m. in the office.

As most readers know. The Mountain Valley School District is currently underway with a $3.7 million dollar renovation project that will bring the buildings and facility up to a 21st century safe, learning environment. It’s an exciting time for teachers, students and everyone involved in education in Saguache Today. Come and support their efforts and see how the new building is coming along!

School blessing

The Mountain Valley School held a land blessing ceremony in May to commemorate the ground breaking for the new school building which was passed by voters in November 2017. To see more photos, CLICK HERE. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Last November, Saguache County voter’s approved a $3.7 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant initiative. Since then, the district has kept an aggressive timeline in order to meet construction goals. Early this summer, school and community officials welcomed state and corporate partners in a community ground-breaking ceremony. Come and check out the progress since then!Back to school BBQ

Saguache News – May 21

Three’s a Charm: Blessings in Saguache Today

After months of planning and preparing the blessed event has finally arrived – in THREE very meaningful ways. First, Congratulations to the Class of 2018! You did it! Nine students from Mountain Valley Schools (MVS) turned their tassels last Saturday at a meaningful ceremony attended by parents, family and friends, as teachers and staff wished them all the best as they head off to new endeavors and a bright future. 

MVS Graduates 2018

The Graduates from Mountain Valley Schools, Class of 2018. Congratulations! Photo: Lacy Nicole Harford-Reed‎.

Second, while graduating seniors commemorated an ending,  it was a blessed new beginning and congratulations to Mountain Valley School (MVS) Superintendent Travis Garoutte and his wife Amy who welcomed a baby girl into their family on May 15. Welcome to Saguache Today, little Avery!

Thirdly, there will be another “blessing” event this Wednesday, May 23 as the MVS holds its ground breaking ceremony for the new school. In conjunction with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, school officials and staff, students, parents and community members will gather at 2 p.m. for the official Ute Tribal Blessing of the land the new facility will be built on.

It’s a time of endings and new beginnings in Saguache Today. Be a part of it all!Sag_School Ground Breaking

The Superintendent’s Corner

By Travis Garoutte, MVS Superintendent

You have probably heard the famous quote, “When one door closes another opens.” Scientist, inventor, and innovator Alexander Graham Bell is credited with this quote; however, what he actually said is a little longer and a bit more meaningful. The full quote reads like this: “When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

Life is constantly changing as we experience growth and improvement, as well as loss and suffering. During my lifetime, I have had many doors close, and new ones have always opened up. Oftentimes, these changes did not make sense to me and I would spend my time looking at the closed door trying to understand the situation, always ignoring the possibilities of new doors opening up. In retrospect, as I get older (and hopefully wiser), I can clearly see why doors of the past have closed, always leading to open doors full of personal growth, improvement, and lessons learned along the way.

Just recently, a new door opened for us, a door that will forever change our lives. On May 15, 2018, our daughter Avery Ann Jenine was born. After months of anxiety, fear, anticipation, and excitement, Amy and I have a new baby girl and we are blessed beyond belief. I had worried that the door to my life as I knew it was closing; however, the moment Avery was born, it was love at first sight and that little girl stole my heart. It seems as though I spent a lot of time worrying about the closing door without even realizing how amazing it would be to step through the open door.

Avery Ann Jenine Baby

Avery was welcomed into the Garoutte family on May 15. Photo by Stephanie Buechler.

During my five years at Mountain Valley School, I have seen many doors close and open. After the door closed for me as a teacher at Sargent School, I became a 6th-grade teacher to a class full of awesome kids at Mountain Valley. That door closed and a new door opened as PreK-12 principal of Mountain Valley School, where I had an entire school full of amazing students! Shortly thereafter, the principal door closed and the superintendent door opened. I miss the daily interactions with kids that I used to have as a teacher, but I am honored to work towards improving Mountain Valley School District for our students, families, and community.

We are headed toward the future of Mountain Valley School, and doors are opening and closing at a rapid rate. Abatement and demolition projects will begin in early June, starting with the cafeteria, woodshop, and bus barn. The Groundbreaking and Blessing Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 23 at 2 p.m. Mr. Hanley Frost from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Culture and Education Department will be on campus to share Ute history of Saguache and bless our new school. FCI Constructors, Treanor HL Architects & Engineers, and NV5 will be on site as well. Everyone is invited to join us as the new Mountain Valley School construction doors open and we begin building the future!

As the school year ends and we begin summer break, change will be inevitable. Remember Alexander Graham Bell’s advice and take some time to reflect and enjoy the past while looking optimistically towards the future.

Latest News – May 31

Hills Alive With Music in Saguache Today

With the summer season officially underway, it’s time to talk music. Festivals and live performances will be returning and popping up all over the San Luis Valley. So let’s check in with some local groups playing their hearts out in Saguache Today.

Saguache Today_Wolf At The Door band_Mary Johnson_1

Wolf at The Door debuted in downtown Saguache earlier this month. Look for them at a stage near you this summer! Photo: Leadville Today/Mary Johnson.

On May 19, Wolf at The Door debuted in downtown Saguache, showing off their strong rockin’ blues repertoire. Former classmates from Mountain Valley Schools rocked the night away as they celebrated their class reunion and got to dance to some oldies but goodies. Playing songs from blues artists such as BB King, this 11 piece band will be rocking your summer at a street fair near you!

Saguache Today_Wolf At The Door band_Mary Johnson_3

It was a cool start to the live music scene as the Class Reunion attendees lined the streets to hear the band and swap old school stories. 

Wolf at the Door includes the following musicians: Bruce Becker – Saxophone, Dennis Neuhaus – Fluegelhorn; Ed Johnson – Guitar; Pearl Alexander – sax and backup vocals; Rick Gortenz on keyboard/piano; Scott Alexander on drums and back up vocals; Tina Serna Backup vocals; Torey Murphy on bass guitar; Trey Hull – Lead Vocals.

Kicker is another newly formed band in Saguache Today and leans towards the country and rock genres. Band members includes Dale Hazard on Steel Guitar; Dennie Meuhaus – Bass Guitar; Ed Johnson – Guitar and Vocals; Micahel Brill – Guitar and Vocals; Pearl Alexander – Keyboard/piano and vocals; Scott Alexander – drums and vocals

Both groups recently donated their time playing for a Mountain Valley Booster Club fundraiser and as part of the 50th Anniversary of Mountain Valley Schools. So be assured that the heart of rock-n-roll is still beating in Saguache Today. Now get out on the dance floor!

Saguache Today_Wolf At The Door band_Mary Johnson_5

Newly formed band Wolf At The Door gets the dance floor hopping with some classic blues during the recent Mountan Valley School Reunion. Photo: Saguache Today/Mary Johnson.

Latest News – May 10

Celebrate Student Art at The Range

Tomorrow, Thursday May 11 the students from Mountain Valley Schools will present their Spring Concert and Art Show. This is your chance to see all of the great, creative projects students have been working on this year.


The arts are alive at Mountain Valley Schools in Saguache. Pictured here are students who participated earlier this year in the sculpture project for the Telluride Fire Festival. 

The community is welcome and encouraged to attend. The program will begin at 6 p.m. at The Range, Saguache’s Art Gallery located downtown at 307 4th Street.

The evening will begin with some wonderful music played by the pre K – 5th grade students. Then attendees are encouraged to tour the K – 12th grade art show which will be on display at The Range. Refreshments will be provided, so come and join the celebration of the arts in the Saguache schools!

In January, the 3rd Annual Telluride Fire Festival premiered the fire-spewing, three-headed Youth Pyros sculpture created with the help of several Saguache students. You can READ FULL STORY and see the final fire-breathing sculpture HERE. This sculpture was created in November by regional youth in a special workshop produced by Coldharbour Institute and Telluride Fire Festival through grants from Coldharbour Institute, Saguache County and scholarships from Telluride Fire Festival.

The Range

The Range Art Gallery.

The Range Art Gallery which will be hosting the local student art show on May 11, is described as an artist space for exhibitions, events, and visiting artists. It was established in 2015 by  Alex DeCarli & Adrienne Garbini. The Range is located at 307 4th Street and visitors are encouraged to ring the bell or by set an appointment.

Latest News – April 17

Math Night on Thursday – Count on Family Fun

Mountain Valley School is hosting its first Family Math Night this  Thursday, Apr. 20. The event will be held from 5 – 7 p.m. in conjunction with the math night pizza party and is made possible with the support of a Saguache County Sales tax grant.

High school students will be sharing the joy of math with younger children and local families through a varety of games and presentations. Please come and support the local students . . . and brush up on YOUR math skills!

Here’s a video from Math Teacher Mrs. Garoutte about what else students and parents can expect a the first ever  Family Math Night! You can count on a fun family night with food, games and prizes!

Latest News – April 6

Bravo! Live Theater in Saguache This Weekend

The Butler Did It! Or did he? There’s trouble at Bournsley Manor, situated on the moors of England. Trevor Barstow has been murder and he’s bleeding all over lady Miranda’s new kitchen tile. Quite ghastly! The Covington family, along with their servants and house guest, famous writer Edwina Corry are at odds as to whom the murder might be.  Cut off from town by a washed out bridge, they set to the task of discovering the perpetrator.

During the intermission opening night, the audience will be invited to determine who they think committed this dastardly deed! Prizes will be awarded following the performance.

Please join the Saguache Community Players as they strive to solve the mystery of the murder Bournsley Manor. It will be produced at Mountain Valley School in Saguache on Friday, Apr. 7 and Saturday, Apr. 8 Both performances begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $5, children under seven are free.

This is the first of four productions the players will present this year. “The Butler Did It?” was written by Todd Wallinger and is produced with special arrangements from a Pioneer Drama Services, Englewood Colorado.Math Night – Count on Family Fun

In other school news, Mountain Valley School is hosting its first Family Math Night on Thursday, Apr. 20. The event will be held from 5 – 7 p.m. in conjunction with  the math night pizza party and is made possible with the support of a Saguache County Sales tax grant.

High school students will be sharing the joy of math with younger children and local families through a varety of games and presentations. Please come and support the local students . . . and brush up on YOUR math skills!

Here’s a video from Math Teacher Mrs. Garoutte about what else students and parents can expect a the first ever  Family Math Night! You can count on a fun family night with food, games and prizes!