Classical Academy

The Jackson Hole Classical Academy K-12 complex is designed to cluster development near existing agricultural buildings.

In a letter to the Wyoming Legislature and the governor, Teton County commissioners are taking a strong stance in opposition to a bill that would strip counties of zoning authority over private schools.

"In general, we have serious concerns with any proposed legislation that negatively impacts the ability of County government to exercise appropriate local control over policy and regulation, and specifically, we oppose any proposed legislation that preempts local zoning," the letter says. "In addition, we are concerned that preempting local zoning authority has the potential to impact public infrastructure investments and strain County budgets."

The bill — Senate File 49 — was filed in the state Legislature amid a local fight over Jackson Hole Classical Academy’s plans to build a new school south of town, which has riled neighbors who fear a campus would threaten rural character.

Supporters of the bill include Sen. Mike Gierau, D-Teton, who says the county should work out a way to allow the academy to move forward in order to relieve overcrowding in Teton County’s public schools and create educational choices in the valley. He feels the county's local planning process has been “hijacked” by opponents of the academy’s plans.

Read more in the Jan. 16 Jackson Hole News&Guide.

Contact Allie Gross at 732-7063, or @JHNGcounty.

Allie Gross covers Teton County government. Originally from the Chicago area, she joined the News&Guide in 2017 after studying politics and Spanish at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

(3) comments

Mike May

I'd posture that the overcrowding thing is overblown. This is a high $ private school we're talking about. It might some day hold 250 students. No doubt its a fine institution however it's not a solution to our public schools....which I'd dare to say are very good. JES in particular has a number of empty class rooms now that the Munger school is up and running. Yes, we need to plan for the future but green lighting a vanity project (and yes, sure it's a good school) in a rural zone doesn't seem like a real solution to much of anything

Dave Valley

The latest story about overcrowding:

Be they good or bad, public schools are different than private schools. The JHCA has a different curriculum than the Teton Science School, or our public schools. Additionally, the ACT scores for the Teton County School District are no different than the average state-wide scores for the State of Idaho, or a dozen other states. That's despite the fact that we spend far more per student and we have a deep well of community resources. You may think they do an outstanding job but it's not really the case that they excel t the degree that they should.

As for the school being a vanity project, that doesn't appear to be the case. The school doesn't promote its supporters in any way. The passion for providing a quality education does not reside solely in those who support, administer, or work in public schools. To suggest a vanity intention on the part of the school's supporters is a personal attack with no basis in fact.

Private schools use fewer public resources than public schools. They don't take taxpayer money to the same degree. All of our public schools sit on what was once rural land. Why can't a private school? Most of our land can't be developed (98%) so there is no real threat to our rural character from the JHCA. They people who oppose it the loudest are mostly wealthy homeowners.

Dave Valley

Sounds like a child ticked off about another child playing with her toys.

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