3C, 3D proponent says Steamboat school board chose students, teachers over buildings | SteamboatToday.com

3C, 3D proponent says Steamboat school board chose students, teachers over buildings

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Heating, ventilation and air conditioning may not be as glamorous as building new schools, but Steamboat Springs School Board President Joey Andrew told people attending an election forum at the Steamboat Grand Wednesday that the dysfunctional heating and cooling systems at Steamboat Springs Middle School are a prime example of how delayed maintenance can negatively affect students trying to concentrate on their lessons.

The school district has placed twin funding measures on the fall ballot intended to keep the district's buildings and facilities in good repair. Ballot question 3C is an ongoing mill levy that would raise $1 million a year to build a dedicated fund to help the district to keep up with maintenance.

And ballot question 3D would allow the district to take on $12.9 million in bonded indebtedness to refurbish Gardner Athletic Field, replace roofs on five buildings in the district and replace the faulty heating and cooling system at the middle school.

Andrew told his audience of more than 100 that the temperatures in some classrooms at the middle school can go through big swings that make it hard for students to concentrate.

Some of this money, Andrew said, would go to correct "temperatures in classrooms that can be 42 degrees in the morning and rise to 105 degrees in the afternoon when the sun hits the windows in science labs, because we can't control the thermostat in that building."

The school board president acknowledged that some taxpayers in the district are asking why the district deferred maintenance on big items like replacing 20-year-old roofs in the first place.

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"What happened?" Andrew asked rhetorically. "The recession happened. When the income wasn't coming in you may have decided not to replace your roof. The Steamboat Springs School Board made that same decision. They had that gut check. They decided to go with students and teachers before buildings."

Andrew promised that if 3C passes, a separate oversight committee will be formed to assure the funds are being used for the proper purpose.

The Oct. 11 election forum, which was moderated by Steamboat Today Editor Lisa Schlichtman, was sponsored by the Routt County Democrats, Routt County Republicans, the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors and the newspaper.

Candidates who spoke included Steamboat Springs School Board candidates Mayling Simpson and Katy Lee, incumbent city council candidate Scott Ford and his challenger Peter Arnold as well as unchallenged council candidates Sonja Macys, Lisel Petis and Kathi Meyer, plus representatives of Colorado Mountain College and more.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

They said it at the Oct. 11 election forum:

“In March or April, we’ll break ground on the shared law enforcement facility and that’s a big deal.” – City Council incumbent Scott Ford seeking the two-year, at-large seat

“It’s a lot of money that goes to the chamber to advertise Steamboat. It’s a good issue for this council to consider. Going to the council meeting last night I drove by the Victoria and there were no lights on. I think we need more focus on community and less on the dollar.”  – City Council candidate Peter Arnold, who is challenging Ford

“I do support both (ballot questions) 3C and 3D. I’ve toured the schools. I’ve gone around with teachers and principals. I’ve seen the conditions and there’s just no way we can let this continue. We absolutely need to correct this problem. We have no choice. If we hesitate, our facilities will continue to deteriorate. I saw things that were completely unacceptable.” – Mayling Simpson, running unopposed for Steamboat Springs School Board

“I think there are opportunities at the high school to have more hands-on science labs. And there’s quite a demand for trade skills across the country right now. I think giving kids more exposure to trade skills, that would be beneficial as well.” –  Katy Lee, running unopposed for Steamboat Springs School Board

“Nobody steps into this job for fame or glory, or anything like that.” – Incumbent City Councilman Jason Lacy, speaking in favor of Referendum 2B, which would validate council members receiving health benefits from the city

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