Kevin Sankey: Before vote, know facts

The Steamboat Springs School District and a political action group chaired by one of the current school board members has crafted a campaign to try to convince the voters to support a new school construction plan that includes the construction of a new high school on the far west end of town.

While almost everyone in our community supports the need for great schools, many of us think that this project is being rushed through the system with inadequate community involvement and too many unanswered questions.

Before you vote, know the facts:

■ One-hundred and seventy-one high school students below capacity in 2014.

■ Seventy-four high school students projected below capacity in 2019 (with largest current classes in attendance).

■ Zero approved intersections off U.S. Highway 40 and only one entrance and exit from proposed high school site.

■ One school board member continues in office (one member seek re-election and three members vacate their positions after the election).

■ One community meeting to announce the C-2 Overlook plan and get feedback (June 8 meeting at Steamboat Springs High School).

■ Four total “community” meetings, including kick-off meeting. All other “public” meetings (as claimed) were actually committee or school board meetings.

■ Twenty-one survey respondents (including staff) at May 26 community meeting. This data, which slightly favors the high school option, is the “mandate” for this project.

■ Forty-nine years that the current high school has been a centerpiece of our community.

■ Forty-nine days from introduction of new school options to school board decision to move the high school to Steamboat II (April 7 introduction of options to May 26 decision on new high school).

■ Thirteen days to abandon ill-conceived Steamboat II option C in favor of C-2 overlook option.

■ One hundred and twenty-two out-of-district students currently attend Steamboat Springs schools (and not paying taxes).

■ One-hundred and twenty-six projected enrollment at approved new Montessori charter school that will be leaving current schools. (Note: This decrease is not reflected in any district projections.)  

■ One-hundred and thirty-nine enrollment in 2014 above capacity at local elementary schools  (-109 without Montessori and out-of-district students).

■ Proposed bond totals $92 million with $178 million the actual cost of bond repayment (more than $14,000 for every person residing in Steamboat Springs).

I support education. I think in great schools. I also believe in doing things right.

I don’t support a process driven by out-of-town consultants, architects and bond salesmen who stand to gain from

this construction.  

As a Steamboat community, we deserve better. This important process, which has major social and economic ramifications, has been rushed. Propositions 3A and 3B gives an almost entirely new school board $92 million dollars to spend, with wide latitude for how and where the money is spent.  

A no vote on 3A and 3B doesn’t mean we don’t support the schools. To the contrary, it simply asks that before we agree to the investment, the options are fully vetted and the community has agreed upon the best solution.

Kevin Sankey

Steamboat Springs

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