by Brett Reese –
After reading the Greeley tribune story of July 20th about raising property taxes to tear down and rebuild John Evans Middle school, I was convinced the three lattes a year sacrifice each of us would have to make for this school was an easy decision. And, as always, The Tribune couched the story as a no-brainer tax increase.
Remember Tribune Editor Bangert’s last attempt to raise taxes? In 2009, he provided over $20,000 of donated print advertising to help 3A pass and it still lost badly. Why? Because people do not trust him and people do not trust this school district. Having served on the District 6 board, I can tell you, they shouldn’t.
- In spite of numerous demands by the voters and parents, there is no more transparency than there was five years ago. The online check register is a simple extension of managed numbers couched in complications and contrivances.
- John Evans is full of asbestos, is a poor design and it should be razed.
- The District has made much of serving the underprivileged side of town whenever any Charter School has made application, mandating any new schools of any stripe be built East of 23rd Ave. Period.
- When John Evans is boarded up, District 6 does not intends to rebuild on the same site, but as far south and west as possible, at the intersection of 65th Ave and 37th St. This location will require busing for almost all of the students and require new infrastructure. The cost for water and electric taps alone have been estimated at over $5 million. Why would the administration mandate with angry tones that all charter applications serve Hispanic, gang-infested and underprivileged children by building in the east side of town (Union Colony’s new school is on south 11th Ave.!!) and then promptly move John Evans to 65th Ave? You know the answer! There is only one! Hint: which side of town scores better on standardized tests?
- In her unchallenged wisdom, and with another fresh, incompetent board by her side, Dr. Lang is breathing heavily after the BEST grant. Let’s understand some simple things about this money. The BEST grant comes from Colorado taxes. It was instituted by former Gov. Ritter, Cari Kennedy and a couple other tax-till-it-hurts Democrats just a few years ago. The BEST grant requires the use of SlaterPaull architects, a sky-high, Denver architectural firm to design the new school. SlaterPaull has members on the BEST grant board that awards the grants. Inbred, expensive out of town contractors and building to the standards enjoyed by Saudi princes.
- Do we not have a few open buildings in Greeley we could fill and use to help our local economy? At least one option which would solve the problem is to move the John Evans students to Maplewood, which was very recently a middle school. Move the elementary students there to the former Cameron Elementary, which has about a 600 student capacity and has been rented to the church next-door for pennies on the dollar. I would suggest this could be done for less than $100,000. CFO Wayne Eads would likely insist on an estimate closer to a million or more.
- Yet another option may include renting or purchasing the entire Greeley Mall or the old Hugh M. Woods buildings. I think the mall just sold on the courthouse steps for what it would take to hook up taps and infrastructure at the 65th Ave smart student site. A few extra bucks for inexpensive partitions and toilets and you have a decent, sufficient location for students to learn.
- The rest of the solutions for our dismal District 6 educational system are obvious….and ignored at all costs by both the non-progressives and the arrogant in the media. Let’s admit to necessary improvement and become efficient in our financial decisions, including $300,000 salaries.
Almost half of all property taxes go to schools already. $175 million per year and despite this, almost half of all incoming District 6 freshmen will drop-out before graduating. Of those who will attend college, the vast majority will require remedial courses before entering!
There are much less expensive, existing facilities available for instructing our students. There are also multiple, specific solutions to the well-known educational and financial missteps of District 6. They are asking for more of our tax dollars that will continue to be mismanaged by our current administrators.
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