Sarah Bradford: Family against 3A, 3B
Steamboat Springs — My husband and I uprooted our family and moved from Winter Park to Steamboat Springs a little more than a year ago so our twin boys, now 8, could grow up in a community with neighborhood schools.
I was a high school teacher in Atlanta before I had children and saw the benefits to kids who were close to high school. They were more involved in sports, after-school academic programs and, overall, more a part of their community than the kids who lived far away and had no choice but to drive. The high school where I taught was an older facility, but it did have dedicated teachers with a magnet school curriculum — far more important than fancy, new buildings.
While we loved living in Winter Park for eight years, we knew we didn’t want our kids traveling the icy roads and long distance to Granby for middle and high school — the only option for Winter Park residents. In fact, many families in Grand County leave for Denver or other locales, since they also desire neighborhood schools all the way through high school.
So, in April, when I got word from a friend that the Steamboat school board was seriously considering moving the high school out of downtown, my jaw dropped. I thought there must be a mistake, so I went to the next meeting where the school board representatives were presenting plans A, B and C.
Even at the first meeting I attended, it was clear their minds were made up for Plan C, even though the majority of parents and community members were speaking out against Plan C and asking to please consider Plan A or B. So, I took two more nights away from my family and attended two more meetings in May and June, hoping somehow the board would hear our concerns. I even personally spoke up and pleaded with the board to consider other ideas, so that we don’t lose this community jewel.
No luck. The presentations were more and more skewed to convince the attendees to buy into Plan C, and all of our comments were tolerated, but they seemed more annoyed at us than wanting feedback. So, when you read that there were many meetings and the community was “heard,” it was not. It seemed predetermined to me.
Steamboat is a special place. I feel as if I have moved to the most beautiful, friendly and unique spot on Earth. No joke. That’s why I’m even more shocked that this community would consider losing such an incredible asset located where the majority of high school kids live. Even kids who live out of town can walk from high school to internships, after-school jobs and activities without driving on icy roads. Why give it up?
Please think about this before you vote. I agree there is overcrowding in some schools, and the district needs to plan for the future. There are other options we can all rally around as a community, including adding on to buildings, adding elementary schools where kids live and other ideas that don’t ask for
$92 million of taxpayer money to lose one of the most precious and rare gifts a high school student can receive — a neighborhood, downtown school. And a beautiful, recently remodeled one, at that.
My husband, my neighbors, my new friends and I will be voting no on 3A and 3B. Please join us. Once the high school is moved, you can’t get it back.
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