Governor tours valley to mark signing of bills
GYPSUM — Because debt is your enemy, state lawmakers came up with a way for school districts to create savings accounts to pay for buildings and buses and stuff they buy.
Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush’s Debt Free Schools Act became law before an enthusiastic crowd of Eagle Valley High School students Tuesday morning.
Gov. John Hickenlooper gathered Eagle Valley’s student leadership team around him on the auditorium stage and put his signature to it.
“And that’s a law!” Hickenlooper exclaimed, as hundreds of students burst into applause.
“This is an example of a bill that might give government a good name, a truly bipartisan effort that is fiscally smart,” said Jason Glass, superintendent of Eagle County Schools. “This bill represents what can happen when we listen to each other and work together.”
‘Celebratory, not ceremonial’
Tuesday’s bill-signing events in Gypsum’s Eagle Valley High School and Vail were among several Hickenlooper whistlestops around the state. The bills, he explained to the students, are not laws until he signs them.
“This is celebratory; it’s not ceremonial, and I have to tell you, this is the best celebratory stop we’ve had on the entire bill tour,” Hickenlooper said. “This is a good day to be Devil. Then again, pretty much every day is a good day to be a Devil, especially when I feel this kind of energy in a school.”
He told the student he was a “geek” and “nerd” in high school.
“If you’re sitting next to a nerd you’d better be nice to him, because you never can tell,” Hickenlooper said.
About that law
Last November, Mitsch Bush got together with Superintendent Glass to hatch the plan.
They started reaching across the aisle — Mitsch Bush is a Democrat, as is Donovan.
When Mitsch Bush introduced the Debt Free Schools Act, one of her Republican colleagues exclaimed, “This is a great idea! Why haven’t we done this before?”
The Debt Free Schools Act allows school districts to go to the voters for an additional property tax to create a savings account for capital and technology needs. Like all savings accounts, it could stay put over time and earn interest, Mitsch Bush explained.
“The object is to move schools away from the heavy debt service load they have,” Mitsch Bush said. “Most schools have too much debt.”
“This is for all of you, all of the students,” she said.