Brad Meeks: We do not take taxpayers’ generosity for granted | SteamboatToday.com

Brad Meeks: We do not take taxpayers’ generosity for granted

This summer, the city of Steamboat Springs published the results of a community survey. While the survey questions focused primarily on attitudes about city services, some information relating to attitudes about K-12 education were also captured.

Based on the published report, when evaluating the quality of 24 different community characteristics, eight in 10 residents gave positive assessments of K-12 education. More specifically, 85 percent of residents rated the quality of education in Steamboat Springs as either “good” or “excellent;” only recreation opportunities and amenities were rated more highly.

We were proud to see education receive such positive ratings in this summer’s survey and prouder still to see that sentiment translate last week into an affirmative vote for issues 3C and 3D — the seven-year, $12.9-million bond and the ongoing mill levy.

With the generous support of our taxpayers, the district will be able to make basic improvements to our facilities — roof replacements, HVAC for Steamboat Middle School, and renovations to Gardner Field — and promptly address deferred maintenance and future capital construction maintenance projects.

We are thankful, both for the votes that were cast and for the support articulated for our schools by a number of organizations and individuals, through editorials and letters to the editor. We are celebrating the value our community places on safety, student success, transparency and longevity in the Steamboat Springs School District. That said, we are not taking the taxpayers’ generosity for granted.

We know we need to do more to engage the community in our district’s efforts and activities, if we are to tackle looming issues like growing enrollment, overcrowding, larger class sizes and a lack of space for expanding specials like art, music, physical education and athletics. The Community Committee for Education started this work and has been instrumental in identifying issues in and beyond those represented in the November ballot issues.

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Over the next two years, we will continue to explore the committee’s ideas as we create a long-term and comprehensive infrastructure plan that is tied to our strategic plan. We will conduct these efforts with the help of a series of advisory committees made up of students, teachers, building administrators, parents and community members.

This week, we are launching a survey to capture opinions and ideas from as many people in our community as possible. Parents and district staff will receive an email directly from lrconsulting.survey@gmail.com; community members who do not receive an email will have access to the survey via a link on our website. The survey will be open and available through Monday, Nov. 20.

As we said when the ballot issues were set this summer, the projects approved yesterday are a precursor to long-term facility solutions and strategies that, beyond bridging critical gaps, need to be addressed. To continue to serve the needs of our students far into the future, we must examine the potential of our existing facilities and/or the need to renovate or add facilities, in order to enhance educational experiences and programming for students in our community.

Thank you for your commitment to the education of Steamboat Spring’s students.

Brad Meeks

Steamboat Springs School District superintendent

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