Pros and cons of the school bond proposal | PostIndependent.com

Pros and cons of the school bond proposal

RFSD bond issue is needed

A recent letter to the editor claimed that the Roaring Fork School District builds extravagant buildings and uselessly spends tax dollars. I was on the board of education when the last major bond issue passed 10 years ago. I was actively involved with the entire oversight process, and can assure you that we were extremely frugal with taxpayer dollars. I’m proud of the district’s efforts to provide beautiful and functional school buildings for the least cost possible.

There was extensive public participation to be sure that we first provided the functionality required for optimal education, as well as designing aesthetically pleasing buildings that are great community assets. The new schools, especially the new Roaring Fork High School, the new Glenwood Springs High School, and the modernized Basalt High School, have provided more than great educational facilities. They are all local hubs for community performance center, meetings, and more.

The school district always puts the student first. Schools need to be designed to be places where students can thrive in great surroundings. And they must be places where the roofs don’t leak, where the walls don’t have cracks, where the buildings aren’t overcrowded.

So, after 10 years, the district is coming back to the voters with a new bond issue to address some serious needs for improving, repairing and adding facilities to be sure our kids have great and safe places to learn.

While I’m no longer on the school board, I am positive that the district would not propose the new bond issue if it were not essential for the benefit of our kids and teachers. I’ve spent time learning about the many needs that will be met by the new bond issue, and it is critical for our kids, teachers, and community. I’m confident that the district will use the bond issue dollars as wisely as possible — there are simply so many needs to be met, and no room for extravagance.

I urge you to learn about the new RFSD bond issue, and to vote in favor. It’s our kids and teachers that will be the real winners.

Bruce Wampler

Glenwood Springs

Is it ‘for the children?’

Ah, yes, deja vu all over again. RFSD school board President Daniel Biggs writes we need to think big and build “the world-class facilities that are worthy of this most beautiful place,” and it’s only going to cost the poor taxpayers measly $122,000,000.

A scant four years ago, when they came begging “for the children” who needed more teachers and new books and sports programs, the first thing they did was give every teacher in the district a $1,500 bonus.

When the taxpayers vote on this “world-class” wish list in November, will they be duped again into believing it’s “for the children?”

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Teacher retention is for the kids

While serving as the Basalt Middle School principal from 2009 to 2015, I experienced firsthand the difficulty of retaining key staff in the Roaring Fork Valley due to out-of-reach housing costs. Over seven years, I replaced over half of the staff. The majority of the resignations occurred because teachers simply were no longer able to afford monthly rental payments, and owning a property was frankly not an option.

Providing teachers with an affordable housing alternative would be a great step toward attracting and retaining talented teachers within our school system. Please give your support by voting for RFSD’s bond initiative — it is clearly a vote for our kids.

Jeremy Voss

former principal at Basalt Middle School

Buildings don’t educate kids

How many new school buildings do we need in this valley?

As some of the writers have stated their opinions, 20 years ago, even 10 years ago, we didn’t seem to have to have new school buildings to educate our kids, our grandkids and now our great-grandkids?

Buildings don’t educate our kids. Good teachers, parents and the community educate our kids. We had a choice the last couple of years and voted for new schools.

We have a huge transient community anymore, and many of those students that were here before are gone and moved on. We do need good teachers, but not any more new schools. Our fire district and firemen need more help now, so let’s get out the vote for the Fire Department.

If I have to have my taxes raised, it will be for the Fire Department. I certainly didn’t get my money’s worth by having my taxes raised for schools the last time. I don’t think the tax money for the schools gave us what we thought we voted for. Sorry, new schools can’t help save us from forest fires nor anything else.

Jane Spaulding

Carbondale

Each school project is needed

As a former Roaring Fork School District board member I want to highlight the importance of supporting the district’s efforts to pass a $122 million bond issue to address safety, overcrowding and facility needs throughout our schools while also ensuring that our teachers can continue to live in the communities where they work.

These funds will be used to address critical projects throughout our district that were identified through a communitywide Facilities Master Planning process completed in 2014.

Enhancing the safety of our facilities: Securing school entrances is critical for the safety of students, teachers and staff. Traffic circulation issues at Basalt Elementary and Basalt Middle School will also be drastically improved, making me rest easier as my own children go to/from these schools.

Affordable Roaring Fork School District employee housing in all communities: Affordable housing is vital to attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and other RFSD employees in each of our communities.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School remodel: The school received a $9.1 million BEST grant from the state for facility upgrades. RFSD must raise the additional $20 million this year to complete this project in order to receive the $9.1 million granted by the state.

Updating aging middle schools in all three communities. Revitalizing the middle schools in all three communities will create much-needed flexible learning spaces that will be designed for creative and collaborative learning. Having a child at BMS, I understand the importance of creating an environment that inspires and engages our children while connecting them with the beautiful environment we call home.

A new pre-K-8 school: Providing a new pre-K-8 school on land already owned by the RFSD between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale will relieve overcrowding in schools that are filled beyond capacity and address growth expected in this area over the next five to 10 years.

For a homeowner with a $500,000 home your property taxes will increase about $23 per month.

I hope that we as a community can come together to support the passage of this bond. For more information or donate please visit http://www.rfvbondtogether.org.

Richard Stettner

Basalt


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