Marty Lamansky: the time is now

Marty Lamansky: the time is now

It is heartbreaking to watch the division that is growing in Steamboat over the bond election.  One of the beauties of our community is that people on both sides of the issue care about children, education and our community.

The great thing about the two campaigns is that both agree on the need for change.  However, there seems to be a lack of understanding regarding the nature of school bonds and where we are in that process.

On August 24, the school board determined the parameters of what would be put on the November ballot by a unanimous vote.  The proposed changes to the schools and the total money requested to complete the project are specified in the ballot language, which has been certified by the County Clerk and Recorder. The measures are no longer open for debate. The bond must be voted on as is.

The board deliberated for over a year before the final wording of the bond was unanimously authorized on August 24.   Yet, opponents of the bond are still calling for change, asking for a “reset” and demanding more details.  They have also labeled bond supporters as inflexible.  Yet, by law, the time to debate the ballot language has passed.  The only thing left to do is vote.  This is how the Democratic process works.  The people who support the bond understand this.  They believe the plan that is before us is a good one and they have made the choice to support the changes to the schools that have been put forward by the community and school board.

This support doesn’t mean every box has been checked and every detail accounted for; nor should it.  There are many design and budget items left to be developed and considered if the bond passes.  This is the nature of large scale capital development projects.  To spend the kind of money needed on detailed planning prior to the passage of a bond would be impossible for any school district, not to mention fiscally irresponsible. Nobody should expect or claim to have every answer and detail at this time, but that is not a reason to reject the bond.

The people who would like a different plan will still get a chance to work on the development of new buildings and programs if the bond passes.  If the bond fails, people will have the chance to have input on finding a solution in the future, and that new plan too, will have people who both support and oppose it.

The real question is whether the bond plan solves problems that are long-term in an affordable way.  On November 4th Steamboat will still be the town we all love and hopefully the people will move on and continue to honor their home by the way they live.

Marty Lamansky
Director of Teaching & Learning
Steamboat Springs RE-2 school district

Published in the October 20th edition of the Steamboat Pilot & Today

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