School bond a hot issue at polls
EAGLE COUNTY ” Jane Healy is an educator. She said she voted for a school bond to give children the chance to contribute.
“Education is grossly underfunded compared to other things in this country,” Healy said. “You put money upstream and it saves money downstream.”
Referendum 3B would increase property taxes to pay for $128 million in new debt for the Eagle County School District. The district plans to use the money to build a new school to replace Battle Mountain High School and make improvements at other Eagle County schools.
Sue and Dick Dangler said something must be done about Battle Mountain. Their daughter works at the high school.
“She says the building is falling apart,” Sue Dangler said.
Dick Dangler isn’t sure whether a new school should be built.
“I would question that until I see how the old building is used,” he said.
Even though Battle Mountain likely gets most of the new money, some downvalley residents supported Referendum 3B.
“The schools need improvement, especially Battle Mountain even though my little guy will never go there,” Renee Winnegrad said outside the Eagle County Building.
But Mike Connolly said he isn’t impressed with school district administrators and therefore chose to block their attempt to get more money.
“Philosophically, I don’t trust the government with my money if they can’t manage what they already have,” Connolly said.
Linda Martinez lives in Minturn. She and fellow residents shoulder the second highest property tax in Eagle County at nearly 18 percent. Martinez said she voted against the referendum to avoid piling on more tax.
“We have enough schools and our taxes ” especially in Minturn ” are already high,” Martinez said. “Something has to be done first if they want people to help.”
One unidentified man outside the Eagle County Building said the school district doesn’t need money.
“In my mind they’ve got enough money to do what they need to do to keep up the schools,” he said.
Many voters with children or planning to have children voted in favor of the referendum. Minturn resident Terry Armistead is mother to a 2-year-old son. Even before his birth, Armistead supported improving Eagle County schools.
“I think that our schools are lacking and they haven’t been updated since they’ve been built,” Armistead said. “At the very basic level we should pay for that.”
A hurried woman rushing out of the Donovan Pavilion in Vail adamantly opposed 3B.
“I don’t have children so I don’t want to have to pay for that,” she said.
Dee Personett disagreed with the rushed woman.
“You’ve got to help the kids around town,” Personett said. “It’s hopefully going to provide more education for them. Kids need education these days ” it’s scary.”
The poor condition of schools in Eagle County prompted Eric Larson to support the referendum.
“These are the worst schools in the state,” Larson said. “We need to improve education in the whole country.”
Class size concerns Kindra Skluzacek who said she wants more individual attention for students.
“It’s important for kids to get what they need to be properly educated,” Skluzacek said. “A lot of people are talking about student achievement and paying attention to kids.”
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.