Today, we feature another editorial from Daryl Schrunk, who gives our readers his thoughts on Dorchester and its school after a year on the job. Mr. Schrunk took over as superintendent of Dorchester's K-12 school at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
At last month's Village of Dorchester Board meeting, I had an opportunity to visit with the village's elected representatives.
First of all, I would like to thank the board for allowing me the time.
My “talking points” to the board focused on my concerns regarding the school's enrollment. Key points I discussed were:
- The need to attract more families with school-aged children to Dorchester;
- The need for more economic development to create more economic opportunity;
- The need to recruit potential businesses to town; and
- The need for housing development.
I started by telling the village board members that Dorchester Public School is not closing its doors anytime soon. However, I have a real concern with our enrollment.
I'd like to do some joint “marketing” with others in the community to attract families (especially Dorchester alumni back) to the community. I envision an advertisement that says: “Dorchester -- a small community with lots to offer. Great school system. Affordable housing available..."
However, the fact is Dorchester does not have houses available.
Our community needs economic development in recruiting both housing and potential businesses.
I have spoken to many alumni especially between the ages of 25-35 who desire to move back to Dorchester. I believe that available housing brings people (which brings families, which equals kids).
With our location -- and our proximity to Lincoln, Seward, Crete, Wilber and Friend -- Dorchester alumni could come back to enjoying the safe, small town life, yet not need to travel far to work.
As for local employment, there are many agriculture-related opportunities that could bring young people back to Dorchester, as well.
Perhaps our town leaders can think of new financial incentives to encourage young couples to buy a house to remodel or build new. Perhaps there could there be incentives for potential businesses to build/relocate in Dorchester?
Again, I want to thank the Village Board for allowing me to share my ideas and concerns. I am certainly not an expert in economic development, but I am willing to be part of the solution.
Dorchester offers a quality education, supportive staff, new facilities, advanced technology and many opportunities for students in grades pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. At Dorchester, every student truly matters.