Community Committee for Education: Focus on the facts — 2017 recommendations
As the Steamboat Springs School District readies a bond for the November ballot, we want to clarify the work of Community Committee for Education — or CC4E. In May 2017, we recommended a $31 million bond for school updates plus a $350,000 mill levy override. We also recommended the district revise their long-term master plan using core tenets.
First, some history. In 2015, a bond for a new high school failed 20/80. The district did not have community buy-in.
In 2016, 19 diverse community members came together as CC4E to create a long-term plan with community buy-in. Some of what we learned from dozens of community meetings over 18 months:
- Updates: All our schools and facilities require maintenance and updates left unaddressed since the recession.
- Cost: Tax increases are especially hard for seniors on a fixed income, young families and commercial property owners.
- Frugality: Fix existing before building new.
- Partnerships: Leverage expertise from others, build for community benefit.
- Transparency: Provide details.
- Class size: Keep class sizes small.
CC4E recognized we had many unanswered questions (including enrollment projections), and we did not have consensus for a new school option.
With these in mind, CC4E voted on and presented recommendations in May 2017: A phased approach.
Phase I – Maintenance and updates
- Steamboat Springs High School: New pod for science labs, repair track and turf, maintenance
- Soda Creek Elementary School: Maintenance
- Strawberry Park Elementary School: Build gym, update kitchen, maintenance
- Steamboat Springs Middle School: Update science labs, HVAC, remodel cafeteria/kitchen
- Yampa Valley High School: Updates, maintenance
- North Routt Community Charter School: Build gym
- Steamboat Springs Early Childhood Center: Do not expand
Phase II – Long-term facilities master plan
The district passed a $12.9 million bond and $1 million mill levy in November 2017 to take care of some maintenance/updates.
In January 2018, the district organized a new Advisory Group process resulting in a bond and mill levy for a PreK-8 school at Steamboat II, plus updates to other schools on the November 2019 ballot.
We believe CC4E’s recommendations from 2017, many of which are included in the district’s bond, are still valid and have community buy-in. However, the community still has questions about a new school that need to be addressed. If there is not enough buy-in and the bond fails, the maintenance and update items would be delayed for more years.
Therefore, we recommend the district pose a ballot question for the K-8 school and a separate one for maintenance and updates. Instead of all or nothing, the voters will determine which projects are funded.
Mary Darcy, Liam Hahn, Chris Johnson,
Robin Schepper, Stephanie Smith, Bette Vandahl
Community Committee for Education
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