Letter: Whiteman discusses new school

Dear Editor:

This community has been very fortunate to have a substantial tax base created by the oil and gas industry in Eastern Rio Blanco County.  These funds have allowed the development of infrastructure completed in the last years with the construction/remodeling of medical facilities, justice center, airports, cemetery, recreational facilities, parks, fire departments and library.  Our governmental and quasi-governmental employees are fortunate to have very nice facilities and work environments.

The school districts in Meeker and Rangely do not have the same privilege to tap the industrial projects in Rio Blanco County as the special districts and Rio Blanco County.

The question on the upcoming ballot is: should the community now remodeled/build a new high school and most importantly, can we afford it?  This will be one of the few projects the community will have a vote at the ballot box to approve the funding.

When you keep burdening the economic sector creating additional taxes it does not go unnoticed. As I understand, the local businesses and industrial sectors, mostly oil and gas, is projected at 86 percent of the increase in taxes to pay for the new high school. Although, this will be noticed by the managers of this sector, a good education system could be a benefit to them.  I think the managers of potential new industrial projects look for the strength of a community in the development of their project.  One of the first strengths is the strength of a good school system.

I urge the school administration, in the event of the approval of the ballot’s issues by the citizens, to be very diligent on the design, the bidding process, the construction process (which would include the use of local contractors) and the planned long term maintaining of the project. 

I commend the school administration in their efforts to involve the community in the planning of this project.  I feel Mr. Selle has demonstrated to those attending the planning process for the new high school he can oversee the fiscal and contract administration of the construction diligently.

I hope the school administration does not make me regret I say this, but, I would like to support the effort to build a new high school, with responsibility and fiscal concern.

Chuck Whiteman