Geoff Petis: Pay it forward; vote ‘yes’ on 4A, 4B and 4C
My wife was born in Steamboat Springs. She went to school here. Her parents were teachers at the high school. Lisel and I moved back to Steamboat in 2014, and we had a daughter last May. We hope Penelope goes to school here, too.
Lisel and I followed the failed bond process in 2015. In fact, we both voted against it. We thought it was too big, too rushed and lacked a community process. We feel differently this time.
I was part of the 32-member Advisory Committee team since late 2017. The committee worked countless hours, held numerous community forums, conducted surveys and touched over 2,500 community members. We considered dozens of options and landed on the ones before you today — 4B and 4C.
A recent letter to the editor by Steve Hofman and Robin Stone — both of whom served previously on the newspaper’s editorial board — suggests the preferred strategy was to fund $27 million of projects at each of the schools and not the proposed pre-K through eighth grade school. I, respectfully, disagree.
I, too, served on the newspaper’s editorial board a couple of years ago. But as it relates to these issues, unlike Mr. Hofman and Ms. Stone, I actually served on the Advisory Committee for two years. I sat through countless forums. I participated in the process of whittling down the options for our schools, and I spent time in the schools while they were in session.
What I learned is that our community asked for a long-term solution. The Advisory Committee considered “smaller” packages, but we collectively decided our community needed a new school to resolve these issues because the reality is we are overcrowded now.
We can’t predict the future. But I will respectfully disagree once again with Mr. Hofman and Ms. Stone that the “fiscally responsible” thing to do is to take a wait-and-see approach. I learned over the past two years that construction costs have risen 10% to 15% per year since 2015. I don’t know what will happen in five more years. I do know that interest rates today are at historic, all-time lows.
Having been involved in the process, I feel the option before you is right-sized, community-driven, consistent with our community’s vision of developing in the west and fiscally responsible.
I ask you to vote “yes” with me on Nov. 5. Vote “yes” on 4A to give teachers and staff the raise they deserve. Vote “yes” on 4B and 4C to give our students the learning environment they deserve. Someone built us a school. It’s time for us to pay it forward.
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