Daily Editorial: School board in a rush | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: School board in a rush

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

The school board is wrong to hustle out a vote to buy the Charter Academy a new community building before the election Tuesday.

There’s little doubt the academy needs the facility. It’s also clear that the funding options have not been fully explored while the current board majority rushes to vote now, in case they don’t have the votes later.

Where there’s a rush there’s surely the danger of acting rashly.

Sure enough, the source of the $2.5 million for the academy has yet to be identified. Will it come from the bond issue the voters approved last November? How does the school board know they will have enough left over once they’ve spent what was earmarked in the bond?

Can the academy move to one of the underused buildings in the district? The “no” to that question came too quick. That’s not to say the old Battle Mountain or Minturn Middle School facilities would be best used to house the academy. Just that the discussion should be fuller before the district spends more on a new building.

The academy could run one more student per class to raise the money it needs for its community building. Academy leaders have so far been too quick to reject that idea, frankly.

No one should have a problem with the Charter Academy asking for the funds. After all, Red Canyon High School wasn’t earmarked on the bond and they are getting $2.2 million for a new campus to replace the old building they had to vacate for the construction of June Creek Elementary School. And other options might have presented themselves with a bit more deliberation.

The board frankly errs by appropriating funds from the bond that the district can’t be sure it actually will have. The academy shows obstinacy in refusing to consider adjusting its per-pupil calculation by one to afford its community building.

There are buildings that with some renovation could house the Charter Academy. There probably are better uses for them than as the charter’s campus. But the board should have a better grasp on the alternatives before spending money it doesn’t really know it has.

Tempting as it must be to vote now and figure out where to get the money later, the school board would show something less than wisdom, or frankly regard for the community it serves, by making what can only be a rash decision now.

Voting in a special session Monday to give the $2.5 million to the academy would be enough of a clear error in judgment that we’d have to reconsider our recommendation for incumbent Keith Thompson, a charter parent himself. His opponent, Carrie Benway, would be the better choice if Thompson let himself get carried away with this stampede.

We don’t doubt the need for a proper facility for the Charter Academy. But it’s obvious that the board is in too much of a rush to spend money it doesn’t really know it has when there might well be better answers with a little more time and thought.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board

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