Re-1 asks for too much money
I urge you to vote for the mill levy override. To attract and retain good teachers, you must pay them enough to live here. After all, it’s teacher quality that counts in education, not the facilities. I also urge you to vote against the bond issue. Re-1 is simply asking too much money for facility renovation and construction, specifically for Glenwood Springs High School.From a size perspective, a new high school is unnecessary. I graduated from GSHS in 1978, and enrollment in the junior and senior high schools surpassed 735 students. These two buildings were combined and expanded into one high school housing 714 students – less crowded than in 1978. Nonetheless, Re-1 says the school is at capacity. Really? Approximately 120 students are from outside the district. This means Re-1’s position that the school can’t meet enrollment growth (though projections for future growth are flat) is false. They can make room for 120 new in-district students by limiting out-of-district enrollment. New Castle’s new high school will also decrease GSHS enrollment. Why should property taxes increase to build a new school to subsidize out-of-district students?Although it needs some repair, the building is structurally sound. According to school officials, the roof needs replaced, the plumbing fixed, and electrical system updated. The price tag: $7 million. The $27 million savings obtained by updating the school to adequate and not building a “perfect” new school would pay for over half of the other $52 million in proposed districtwide projects.Re-1 agrees that the proposed new campus acreage is not large enough for the school proposed. They plan to condemn very expensive commercial property fronting Grand Avenue to obtain the necessary, although admittedly insufficient, land. Wouldn’t it make more sense to sell the existing school and condemn cheaper property somewhere else actually large enough? What about building on existing athletic grounds (land the district already owns) and adding an all-district athletic facility mid-valley that the various schools could share? Land would be cheaper and maintenance fees would not be duplicated. I’m sure there are other viable options in addition to these; however, it just doesn’t seem like the district seriously considered them.Finally, don’t be fooled by Re-1’s somewhat misleading statement that this only costs you $20 per month. What they’re really asking for is a 10 percent increase on your entire property tax bill. The increase equals $30 of your pre-tax dollars. That’s $360 per year, amounting to over 10 percent property tax increase on a $400,000 house. They also fail to mention the $450,000 yearly commercial property tax increase.GSHS needs some work, but Re-1 is asking for too much money. Make them sharpen their pencils and come back with a realistic, affordable proposal. I also urge you to vote “yes” on the mill levy override because the quality (or lack) of teachers only puts our children at a competitive disadvantage.Dave Rippy is a local business owner and a lifelong resident of Glenwood and has three children in the Re-1 school system.Dave Rippy is a local business owner and a lifelong resident of Glenwood and has three children in the Re-1 school system.
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