As co-chair of the Citizens for Meeker Schools Bond Campaign Committee, I welcome this chance to share my support for the Meeker School District’s 4A Bond initiative. A Vote for 4A will fund the District’s redevelopment of Meeker’s existing high school. This project will address critical infrastructure needs and provide an enhanced learning environment for our students and faculty. It will include a new academic wing, secure entrances, a remodeled auditorium, a new gym, and a new bus garage. 4A is more than a vote for bricks and mortar; it is an investment in our kids, our school and our community.
Voting to increase taxes, even for a worthy cause, deserves careful attention. We encourage everyone to review information regarding the process, the costs and the tax impacts at the Citizens for Meeker Schools website (www.voteyesformhs.com), on our Facebook page, and via recent mailers and advertisements. There will also be an Open House at the Meeker High School on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend to tour the existing facility and ask questions. We also encourage voters to reach out to Meeker School Board members, the district superintendent, as well as members of the Citizens for Meeker Schools with specific questions and comments.
To be honest, I had initial reservations about the new high school project. Leaking roofs, inadequate classrooms and bathroom stalls that don’t close are obvious issues that require immediate attention; but do they warrant a complete overhaul of the school? I was also concerned about the cost, the impact on commercial property taxes, the process and the school’s commitment to long term maintenance of existing and new facilities.
After attending several meetings, reviewing the district’s detailed information, and a few spirited discussions regarding my concerns, I am now confident that redeveloping the existing high school is necessary and worth our investment. More importantly, if the bond is passed, I believe the district is prepared to oversee a successful project that includes an ongoing maintenance plan to ensure exiting and new facilities will be properly maintained for years to come. Over the summer, the district reassessed the project to reduce the cost to prioritize and tackle the most critical issues as efficiently and effectively as possible. In addition, if the bond is passed, the district will continue to pursue grants with the goal of reducing the total project cost.
As a commercial property owner, I realize that 4A will have a direct impact on the taxes for our two downtown properties as well as our residence. It will be more than the cost of a “Starbucks” for commercial properties, but it is investment in our students, and the people to who do so much to make our public education system a success. Public education is not about an individual concern over a specific topic; it is about the overall value that it brings to our students and community.
The Bond Campaign Committee has heard concerns about taxes, concerns about the four-day school week and the need for additional operating revenues. A healthy and civil dialog on these issues is welcomed and a tribute to our community. While these are valid points for discussion, they do not eliminate or address the critical infrastructure issues at Meeker High School. In addition, if the statewide initiative, Amendment 73, is passed, it will address many of the district’s operating revenue challenges.
Even complex topics can be boiled down to a few simple questions. Does Meeker High School require renovation to meet student and faculty safety and educational needs, and are we, as a community, willing to fund the project? My answer is yes, I believe the needs are real and worthy of investment. Election ballots will be mailed on Monday, Oct. 14. Please remember to vote, as every vote does count. Thank you in advance for your careful consideration on 4A.
Co-Chair of Citizens for Meeker Schools