Lisel Petis: Please support local ballot issues
I was born and raised in Steamboat Springs. I went to each of our local schools. When I graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2000, the population of the greater Steamboat Springs area was 13,742, my class size was 111 and the total number of full-time salaried employees at the fire department was zero — it was all-volunteer at the time.
I share my history because it helps explain why I am asking you to support 2A and 4A, 4B and 4C.
Since I graduated in 2000, the population in our area has ballooned from 13,742 to an estimated 18,000. As our community has grown, so has the need to increase the number of trained staff to help medical and fire emergencies. However, the city has never received ad edicated funding source for fire/EMS services, even as our staffing needs have grown and we paid our first staff in 2002.
Unfortunately, we have gotten to a point where the city can no longer absorb these costs and provide the same level of services. We as a community need to make sure we have sufficient staffing for those “third calls” that come in.
While I graduated with 111 kids in 2000, the current 2020 graduating class has ballooned to 192, and there are currently 227 in sixth grade. And while there have been some renovations to the schools during that time, the students today are still dealing with inadequate conditions caused by overcrowding.
I was lucky enough to eat lunch at a “normal” time (some students today that have lunch as early as 10:30 a.m. because of capacity issues). Other students and I were lucky enough to get in and out of the Strawberry Park without issue — now buses and families sit in gridlock.
Since I moved back to Steamboat in 2014, there has been talk of building a new school. For five years we have been talking about it. I understand people may not agree on where the school should go or exactly what the class size will be in 20 years, but it seems undeniable that our schools are already overcrowded and construction costs will only go up the longer we wait to build a new school.
I hope you will join me in voting to approve 2A and 4A, 4B and 4C. We need to stop ignoring the growth of our community and vote to take care of the members and children within it.
This letter reflects my own personal opinions and not that of a city council member.
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