Letter: Vote yes on RE-1 bonds
Commercial property owner, Glenwood Springs
I believe you should vote yes for the bond Issue for the following reasons:
1. $15 million will be used to build 50 residential rental units, representing 11 percent of teachers in the district. A starting teacher with a masters degree is paid $2,500 net monthly salary after deductions. Rent represents 59 percent of their net salary, whereas in other districts it is 30 to 35 percent. To make up this difference would cost the district $11,000, which is impossible based on present state funding. In all three towns in our district, teachers will retire who bought their homes 30 to 40 years ago when homes were affordable. Not so today. Clearly, we must provide assistance to teachers to obtain affordable housing.
2. Because of low interest rates, it is difficult to imagine a better time to issue bonds for new schools. For every $100,000 of house value, annual property tax would be $56. I believe this is a small price to pay to have quality school facilities in the district.
3. The simple fact is that at some point buildings have to be replaced. It is cost effective because older buildings require higher utility costs and higher repairs and maintenance. School construction costs have increased 12 percent in the last year. If we wait for a future bond issue, it could be $150 million or even $200 million.
4. Annual school budgets do not provide funds for major capital improvements. Therefore, bond issues are the only way to finance these projects. If the bond issue does not pass, RE-1 will forfeit a state grant of $9 million for improvements to Glenwood Springs Elementary.
With all the international competition for jobs, we must provide the highest quality education K-12 that is possible. That includes facilities that are conducive to learning. The time is now. Let’s provide the funds to maintain the quality of schools that our students deserve.
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