Jerry Buelter: 3C, 3D address district’s most pressing needs
October 9, 2017
I read with interest your editorial from Sept. 28 entitled, "Our view: Lack of campaign worrisome" and the letter to the editor from Jim Gill, "School district can't exclude positive impact of 1/2-cent sales tax." If I may, I would like to share my thoughts concerning both.
The CC4E process, begun shortly after the failed bond attempt, was led by many concerned citizens from the community wanting what was best for students, parents and public alike. A wide assortment of views, from a wide assortment of backgrounds were shared in a number of meetings in town.
Unfortunately, it became difficult to find consensus regarding direction the community should take regarding concerns over growth issues within the Steamboat Springs School District. In the end, I believe the decision to not pursue a larger proposal was wise. The current proposal — Referendums 3C and 3D — addresses the district's most pressing needs.
In regard to the letter from Jim Gill, let me say we — as a community and school district — owe Jim and his colleagues much gratitude for the vision of a ½ cent sales tax and what it could do to support the goals of this town by supporting its schools. I will tell you through personal contacts that we are the envy of most school districts around the state.
Initially, the money from the sales tax was earmarked for growth and technology. Later, growth was split into two sections; one was education excellence (lower class size, which meant hiring more teachers) and the other dealt with providing appropriate facilities for students and staff.
I am not going to get into the conflicting legislation that led to the negative factor. Because of its withholding funds to districts, the state did allow school districts more flexibility on how they spent their allotment.
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Steamboat Springs chose on the side of the staffing needs rather than facility needs. The district had money to pursue only one course. I think we can all agree that quality instruction supersedes other factors in the quality of one's education.
This is where we find ourselves today. We have an opportunity to take care of the facilities that house our children with an ongoing revenue source that provides a safe place for them to learn — 3C provides us with such a source of revenue.
Referendum 3D also takes care of the needs associated with aging buildings and facilities. Our roofs have made it past their lifespan and need to be replaced. Leaky ceilings are not just an eyesore, they can and do cause mold to form all the while slippery surfaces on gym floors and other surfaces are dangerous.
The middle school interior does not have an adequate HVAC system. Rooms are either too cold, or too hot (often in the same day). Referendum 3D would help provide a safer and healthier environment within the halls and classrooms of the middle school.
The turf field and track at the high school has outlived its lifespan as well. Referendum 3D would not only provide for a new field and track but new bleachers as well. Those of you who have visited Gardner Field know that it is not ADA compliant.
I am not sure where we all stand on 3C and 3D in this community, but if we could just honor the work of those who participated on CC4E and all the others who went to the forums and meetings by carefully reading the ballot proposals before making a decision, that would be great. Our students would appreciate it. Thank you.