Time running out to take school survey | VailDaily.com

Time running out to take school survey

Scott N. Miller

Here are some questions from the Eagle County School District’s on-line survey. To take the survey, go to http://www.eagleschools.net by March 16.• Two options were presented that do not include any new buildings. When answering this question assume that building is not an option. Which of these options are you most in favor of. • Two options were presented that include building new schools. Which of these options are you most in favor of? • Are you more in favor of building a new school(s) or not building any new schools? EAGLE – The questions are out there. Now someone has to answer them.The questions in question are being asked by the Eagle County School District in an on-line survey. District officials are seeking residents’ opinions about whether or not to ask for a tax increase this fall. If a tax increase question is put on the fall ballot, chances are voters would be asked for money for either a new elementary school or a new high school.While the stakes are high, the response rate hasn’t been. As of the end of the day last Wednesday, only 254 surveys had been returned to the district office.”We want at least 500,” said Melinda Gladitsch, who is running the school district’s “coming attractions” project. That project is the district’s attempt to solve crowding problems at four of the district’s 15 schools.In an attempt to get more survey responses, the district has extended the deadline to Wednesday. The school board will get its first look at the results at its March 23 work session. The results will be posted on the district’s Internet site.If 500 people take the survey, that number would still be less than 10 percent of the district’s student population. But that would be better than the response so far.To date, most of the comments district officials have heard has come from parents at Meadow Mountain Elementary School, who have launched a vocal campaign to keep the Eagle-Vail school open. Closing Meadow Mountain in order to create more classroom space for Battle Mountain High School is one of four options district officials are considering. While the district has those parents’ full attention, it’s struggling for other comments.While about 225 parents turned out for a March 7 meeting at Battle Mountain High School, fewer than 25 attended a meeting the next night at Gypsum Creek Middle School.”I haven’t heard anything from parents so far,” said board member Andy Arnold, who represents part of Vail.While the Meadow Mountain group has been the most vocal so far, Superintendent John Brendza said he’s starting to hear from parents about the district’s other “no build” option. That plan would move the eastern valley’s fifth and sixth graders to Minturn Middle School, which is currently at less than half its capacity, with seventh, eighth and ninth graders moving to Berry Creek Middle School in Edwards.Brendza said current estimates indicate that plan would solve the district’s capacity problems for a decade or more. But questions are starting to surface about the quality of instruction ninth graders would get in a middle school.”No matter what we do it’s going to make some people happy and some people unhappy,” board member Louise Funk said.But whatever decision the board makes, it’s going to take some more time. Brendza said earlier this week he expects the board to have a decision on whether or not to put a tax increase on the ballot by the end of the school year.If the district asks for more money, it could be for a new elementary school at the Village at Avon, for as much as $20 million, or a new high school at Edwards, which could cost as much as $60 million. Arnold said public comment is crucial to that decision. And, he added, this particular school board is taking the time to listen.”I can’t think of a time we’ve had a more comprehensive review,” he said.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado

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