Platte One school board meeting packed with supporters for new Chugwater charter school

Mark DeLap
Posted 5/31/23

Platte No. 1 votes not to staff Chugwater

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Platte One school board meeting packed with supporters for new Chugwater charter school


CHUGWATER -   A packed house in the Chugwater school commons area waited for decisions from the school district that may bring into focus the future of the new Chugwater charter school, Prairieview Community which is hoping to open this fall.

The commons had been transformed into a giant board room where the Platte County School District No. 1 board was set up for their traditional May school board meeting in Chugwater. Chairs had been set out for the public and twice during the set-up, extra chairs had to be brought out as people kept filing in.

Most of the audience was made up of Chugwater people who had signed up to make public comments. They were encouraged in a town meeting the previous week at the Chugwater Community Center to be present to show their support for the new Chugwater charter school, Prairieview Community Charter School.

Among the people gathered to show support for the charter school was Church Gray, Wyoming Secretary of State who said that he supported the new school and was present at the start of their inception plans. Also represented was Wyoming District 4 Representative Jeremy Haroldson.

“Now more than ever we need to offer our parents the opportunity to have choices in the education of their children,” Haroldson said. “Prairie-view charter school will offer just this,  it will give us the opportunity to partner with this community, and offer another way to educate our children. It is vital that we see the partnership of PCSD#1 and Prairie-view charter school, through this we will see the children of our county given another opportunity for excellent education.”

Many people stood and were recognized by Dustin Kafka, Platte County School District No. 1 school board president. They all affirmed their support for the Chugwater Charter School.

Chugwater charter school CEO Christian Winger was also at the school board meeting, and although he did not speak at the meeting, offered thoughts afterward.

“Chugwater and the surrounding community showed up last night in full support of Prairie View Community Charter School which is scheduled to open this fall,” Winger said. “Prairie View Community School is the first state authorized charter school approved by the State Loan and Investment Board. We are grateful to help lead the way in partnering with PCSD  No. 1, the WDE, and families and students in the tri-county area. For a variety of reasons, Platte County School District #1 made a difficult and emotional decision to not staff the current Chugwater School for the upcoming school year. However in this difficult transitions for PCSD No. 1, Prairie View is excited to partner with them and the Wyoming Department of Education to continue providing and outstanding education in this Community. Change can be difficult, but the dedication and resilience of the Chugwater community is impressive.”

After the board heard the testimony from the community members, it went on to conduct it’s normal monthly business including the vote to hire an interim superintendent until a permanent and proper search could be completed.

Things also discussed at the meeting were anticipated revenue decreases, known expenditure increases and anticipated expenditure increases.

The much anticipated agenda item that the crowd waited for was the Chugwater and Glendo staffing issues. In a vote of approval, the board decided not to staff Chugwater school and also decided not to staff grades 9-12 in Glendo.

Diane Haroldson, Platte County School Board No. 1 board member said, “I love anything that unifies a community and the hope of a continuing community enthusiasm. Hope was at an all-time high as practically the whole community of Chugwater showed up in support of Prairie View Charter School at the monthly Platte County District No. 1 School Board meeting. The Board moved to allow extra time for the 23 citizens who signed up to share their thoughts. Unanimously there is a desire for the district’s support of the emerging charter school. Many expressed the desire to use the facility presently occupied and since there is no staffing being planned next year it may be both ‘available and adequate’ as outlined in Senate Act 77.”

The charter plans to integrate project based, career-connected education that may become a template for other Wyoming schools. Many details have to be ironed out with the Wyoming Department of Education, Platte 1 Board and Prairie View Board and there is concern that time is running out.

“With the help of Secretary of State, Chuck Gray, District 4 Representative, Jeremy Haroldson, and superintendent Megan Daeganfelder there is hope these decisions can be made quickly,” Haroldson said. “It’s wonderful to see the community come together for quality education. Concerns were heard for a community that would withstand the winds of change. Chugwater feels having a good school is an intrical part of the picture they are pulling together to paint.”

After much public input for a couple of years the state board of education has passed a resolution to create performance standards with more flexibility for graduation in Wyoming.

“The way I understand it is they are seeing the need to reach the many students that could fill the lack of blue collar positions by partnering them with business entities in the community during school hours,” Haroldson said. “Recognizing the fact that not everyone is made of the fabric to move to college level education they are making some changes that I find very exciting. I’ve also caught wind of students wanting to be teachers working with existing ones to try to replenish our teacher shortage. Good steps toward long term solutions.”