Businesses step up to save newspaper at Hillsboro High

USD 410 patrons will continue to read the Hillsboro High School student newspaper within the pages of the Hillsboro Free Press, thanks to the efforts of two Hillsboro businessmen.

Funding for the Oracle was eliminated for the 2010-11 school year as part of USD 410 budget cuts. But thanks to Joel Klaassen, Free Press publisher, and Lyle Ediger, Midway Motors general sales manager, the Oracle lives on.

?When I found out the school wasn?t sponsoring the Oracle, I thought we couldn?t have that,? Klaassen said.

Said Ediger: ?Basically what happened was I heard through the grapevine that the school couldn?t sponsor (the Oracle) anymore. So I talked to Joel and I said, ?Well, what would happen if I sponsored it so the kids could still have this???

Klaassen and Ediger saw this as a chance to help support the school.

?I was on my high school newspaper staff,? said Klaassen, an HHS grad. ?I think it?s important.?

Bob Woelk, Oracle faculty adviser, said he is grateful to both men for the chance to continue printing the Oracle.

?After the board of education eliminated our funding, I immediately e-mailed Joel and our administrators to see if we would be allowed to pursue other funding avenues,? Woelk said.

?I was really pleased to hear back from Joel that he would work with us, and from administrators that they have no problem with our printing. They just didn?t want to pay the approximately $3,200.?

If not for Klaassen and Ediger, the Oracle would have been an online-only publication.

?If it?s online, it doesn?t feel like a real paper,? Woelk said. ?I wasn?t excited about an online-only paper.

?I really appreciate Joel?s efforts to continue publishing our student newspaper in the way it is most authentic for our students,? he added.

The Oracle will now run as a four-page insert in the Free Press instead of a pull-out tabloid. The new format offers the same amount of writing space as in past years, but a half-page Midway Motors ad will run on the back page.

About 2,000 copies will be printed and delivered to households in the school district. The Oracle staff will physically remove copies of the Oracle from copies of the Free Press for distribution throughout the high school.

The Free Press issues with the Oracle removed will then be mailed or distributed beyond the USD 410 area.

Continuing to publish the Oracle is not a burden for either the Free Press or Midway Motors, according to Klaassen.

?Midway Motors is putting up some funds and we are putting in some effort,? he said. ?We need to keep it as cost-effective as possible.?

In fact, the cost of the Oracle will be less than before. Because it is no longer inserted in the same way, the Free Press saves about $30 per issue.

?Midway Motors is picking up most of the tab and the Hillsboro Free Press is contributing the postage and handling and making sure the PDF file supplied by the Oracle staff gets included with the rest of the pages we send to the printer,? Klaassen said.

Both local businesses agree that the Oracle provides HHS students with valuable learning experiences.

?We believe in supporting the school to keep things like this going,? Ediger said.

?The Oracle continues without public funding because Midway and the Free Press think it is important to continue,? Klaassen said.

?

Editor?s note: Becky Faber is co-editor of the Oracle this year with Jake Wiebe.

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