Kennedy: Support bond and mill levy for Poudre School District

Sean Kennedy

“Think global, act local.”

A trite, rather corny mantra to be sure, but it bears particular significance when it comes to participating in politics. This election season, while our attention has been dominated by the especially eventful presidential race, we still have many important local and state initiatives on the ballot that are far more deserving of our time and consideration. For every voter impassioned, angered or disaffected by the destructive idiocy of federal leadership, local politics allow for a much better chance for your voice to actually be represented by the people you elected to do so, and for your values to shape change more directly than at any other level of politics.

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That being said, if you take the time to educate yourself on local ballot issues, please also take the time to consider the important role education has played in your life. Remember how your education prepared or is preparing you to confidently take on the challenges that you face in your life, be it seeking or maintaining employment, nurturing fruitful relationships or something beyond, and remember the encouragement your educators gave you, whether you recognized it at the time or not. If you appreciate the effort your teachers put in to nourishing you and value the role education has played in your life, please support the mill levy and bond requested by local Poudre School District on this fall’s ballot.

Your support for this initiative will allow the school district to keep up with the needs of a rapidly-growing student population. It’s no secret at this point that Fort Collins is expanding quickly, and the district claims it is growing at rate of up to two percent, or 500 new students, each year. The requested $375 million bond would allow the district to construct a new elementary school,two middle/high schools, one of which would serve students in Wellington, an athletic facility, a transportation maintenance facility and an addition to Zach Elementary School in southeast Fort Collins.

The $8 million mill levy would fund facility maintenance and improvements at existing schools as well as technology within classrooms.

Now, I realize that the district is asking for a lot of money in this initiative, and that especially on a ballot brimming with new tax proposals, most voters are not going to have the stomach for approving a bunch of new spending initiatives. However, if we are going to prioritize new spending in our community, this initiative needs to be at the top of the list.

Poudre School District’s request may seem exorbitant, but their plan is firmly grounded in reality, the reality that our community is going to continue to grow whether we like it or not, and that we will be forced to adapt one way or another.

We may not want to stomach more taxes and greater spending, but we will have to because our schools will quite literally not be able to stomach all of its students in five to ten years if we don’t. Two local high schools are already over capacity, according to the Coloradoan, and many others aren’t far behind. Support the bond and mill levy for Poudre schools so that they can continue to grow along with our community. We were all students once.