Letter: Reality check on bonds
The $122 million school bond issue is a major tax increase (upwards of 15 percent plus). That is what the Roaring Fork School District is really asking us to cough up. Not for just a single project like a new elementary school for Glenwood Springs; not for just teacher housing, not just for a $34 million middle school that will be built and not even occupied till its needed — but $122 million for the whole enchilada at once.
Sounds a bit greedy to me on their part, nothing less. No consideration whatsoever as to whether the local citizens, particularly the senior citizens, can or cannot afford such a major tax increase all at once and still afford to live “in paradise.” The school district appears to much more concerned about teachers who have yet to be hired and how they will pay for living “in paradise” than those citizens who have supported them for years and would love to continue to live and retire here.
The school district hired a Denver consultant to produce a $172 million facility master plan. Facility master plans are usually a concise summary of the long-term needs that spell out “all” of the “future” needs of the school district. They are usually anywhere from five- to 10- to even 20-year plans — not a one-year plan as the school district would have us believe. The consultants that drafted the master plan don’t even live here; they won’t pay a cent in taxes for their grandiose ideas.
We all have our own wish list of projects we’d love to do including our houses or apartments, trips we’d love to take in our lifetime and things we’d love to own — but we don’t ask our neighbors to pay for them. We pay for them or they simply don’t happen. If the school district was even somewhat reasonable and asked for one project at a time — say the proposed new elementary school in Glenwood Springs — which they have a $9.2 million state grant to build a $29.2 million school — I might consider supporting them. But to ask local citizens to support a $122 million bond issue all at once, I consider a slap in the face and total disregard for what any of us could reasonably afford.
To the Roaring Fork School District, I have only one thing to say: If this bond issue does not pass, which is should not, you only have your greed to blame. You will be throwing away the state grant that you worked so hard to get and deprive the elementary students of a new school. As far as teacher housing is concerned, leave that up to private developers. They can afford to pay for it; we can’t. Vote no on this bond issue — it’s the definition of overkill.
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