February 12, 2009

Board moves forward with vocational education

Almost one year ago, it was announced that the Missouri River Education Cooperative, which consists of 32 public schools and four cooperating parties – including Hazen, Beulah and Center-Stanton schools, would receive a grant of almost $600,000.

The grant aimed to provide an incentive for school districts to increase Career and Technical Education opportunities.

The Hazen School Board took a step toward further capitalizing on that incentive Monday by voting to pursue a building and trades program, possibly in cooperation with Beulah and Center-Stanton.

With Center-Stanton interested in a summer program, according to Superintendent of Schools Mike Ness, the program would most likely be split between sites in Hazen and Beulah. The empty lot east of the Hazen Middle School would potentially provide a site for program activities such as construction, Ness said.

Hazen High School Principal Ed Boger said that students’ current interest in the vocational agricultural programs is a positive indicator of interest in the building and trades program, though the board expressed concern that the program could divert interest from those programs.

"Agriculture will always be a big part in this area," Board President Keith Johnson said. "The question is: Would we want to head down a road that’s a little on the industrial side? That’s also a large part of this area, and something that will keep people here."

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