Jessica Valand: Status quo isn’t working for Steamboat anymore
I have paid careful attention to the community input on building a new school for our kids. As a homeowner in Heritage Park and mother of two school-aged children, I attended the meeting held by the Steamboat Springs School District on May 2.
Across the board, I have been disappointed by the response of this community to the clearly articulated need of additional capacity within our district schools. I have heard a litany of complaints, of NIMBY-ism, of pontificating with a selfishness that frankly, even my 6- and 7-year-old children know better than to display.
Each of us living within the Steamboat district has elected to be part of a community. If we wanted only natural beauty or dark skies, there are plenty of other locations in Routt County we might have chosen. But we are here, in Steamboat, for a reason.
Many of us came here precisely because of the high caliber of the schools and the ability to live in a uniquely community-minded place, that affords a bounty of amenities but also a real sense of place. I know my family did.
Being part of a community requires sacrifice. Yes, change is hard. Yes, growth has impacts that must be managed thoughtfully. It’s normal to lament a disruption to the status quo, but then we move on, as adults must.
The status quo isn’t working anymore for this town. We need to embrace solutions, not dig our heels in, cross our arms and demand, “Not in my neighborhood!” As members of a community that is bigger than Steamboat II or the Whistler neighborhood, it is incumbent upon us to adapt to changes, work toward the common benefit and invest in our collective well-being, even if that happens at a small personal cost (see: Rousseau’s social contract).
The Steamboat Springs School District has performed a yeoman’s work in putting together an array of options to educate our youth while responsibly growing capacity. They have engaged the community thoughtfully and communicated clearly and often.
They recognize that no solution will be perfect but are doing their best to meet many competing needs, all while dealing with the myriad other demands thrown at education. They should be thanked for their work, and this community should join them in putting the best interest of our students at the forefront, knowing that being part of this community is worth sacrificing for.
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