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Bond issue should make cents

My SideTerry Fattor

The slick mailings showing the triangle with Basalt, Glenwood, and Carbondale on each side is a tried, tested way to get approval for new taxes. Carbondale and Basalt need new school additions but you’re forced to approve an extra $35 million (with interest about $73 million) for a new Glenwood high school. And it still doesn’t meet the 35-acre standard which high schools must have to meet future needs. It will have only 20 acres. So why a new high school?By the district’s own numbers, the school is not overcrowded. The reason, they say, is it’s over 50 years old. Never mind the remodel nine or so years ago when Clinton was president. We’re still paying for that. Good grief, Denver’s East High is over 60 years old and may be closer to 80; seems to be a beautiful building. Ivy League universities are dominated by buildings 50 years old. Frankly, citizens are being taken for chumps.As seen in the election guide: We now owe $38 million, and if there is no repayment, we’ll pay with interest shy of $50 million to retire that old debt. The new bond is only for another $86 million, and with interest, $175 million. If you add these, and granted I took math in an old high school building, that’s a cool $225 million. The total is only $25 million from one quarter of $1 billion (not million). All of this, supporters say, by giving up a few McDonalds’ cheeseburgers. Tell that to businesses who will pay with more than a few cheeseburgers. You’re not done because the district needs another $50 million (without interest). There goes fries and chicken nuggets next year.Not one school administrator, school board member, person doing this for the children, or the GSPI has said, “If we spend this money the average grade point average of the average student at Glenwood Springs High School will go up,” even a tenth of a point. They won’t say it because they can’t. That’s the real tragedy. Seems they worry more about what’s over the students’ heads and not enough about what’s in the students’ heads. Spend money on students, teachers and books, not shiny new walls and ball fields. When time comes for a new school because of growth, build it to accommodate needs of the future, not the present.If this passes, let me thank in advance the good people of Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood. It could not have happened without your new diet and generosity. And to business owners who might not hire another new employee, thank you, too. Just wish students could be promised a higher GPA. But, hey, you tried.Finally, this. It’s not inconsistent to want the best for our kids’ education and be against this bond issue. In fact, it’s our obligation to ensure our money is wisely spent. Don’t do it because it “feels good.” Do it because it’s needed and makes sense – $73 million doesn’t make cents!Terry Fattor is a Glenwood Springs resident.


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