County voters ignored needs in community

"Selfish. Greedy. Wants before needs. Self-interested.

These are the words that came to mind when I saw that Larimer County defeated the tax for the mental health facility. Aren’t we supposed to help those in need?

The same words apply to the defeat of an effort to support our historical societies and museums, the raptor rehabilitation program and so many other scientific and cultural organizations in our county.

And then there was the bond and mill levy for Thompson School District. To those who voted no, did you attend any of the district’s open houses to learn why the district was requesting this money? Did you voice your concerns about the bond or mill levy to the Board of Education? Or did you vote no because you believed the flawed math on those yellow signs that were stuck in public right of ways?

One of the first lessons students learn in economic and in budgeting classes is to distinguish between needs and wants. Our county needs a mental health facility. Our history and cultural facilities and scientific endeavors need to be supported, or we lose them.

Our community needs good schools for our children, to educate the next generation of doctors, ranchers, electricians, teachers, mechanics, radiologists, entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

You want to have dinner out, or a bigger screen on your television. You want to not pay taxes: but yet you need the roads repaired, you need fire protection, you need teachers to educate the next generation, someone in your family may need mental health care. We all have a stake in helping our community thrive and we all have a responsibility to pay for the services we need to provide."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Becky Jay, Loveland (online version with link not available)

Students, teachers deserved a better outcome

"We moved to Loveland over 30 years ago not only because we thought it was a beautiful town but also because we were told the schools were excellent. Our children and grandchildren graduated from Thompson R2-J (the youngest graduates in 2017). In 2014 I happily moved back to Loveland after living elsewhere for years. However, after seeing the defeat of 3D and 3E I am disheartened enough to question this move.
I apologize to the teachers and students of Thompson R2-J for the defeat of 3D and 3E. I voted yes on both measures knowing my taxes would go up significantly. I felt so strongly about attracting and keeping good teachers, bettering our children's education and maintaining our schools. It is a sad commentary that our school district is the only one in Northern Colorado to not pass their school tax measures. We in effect told our teachers and students they are just not worth it.
Many people are only too glad that 3D and 3E did not pass. They see a tax savings. I see good teachers leaving for schools that will pay them more for their hard work; I see students who will receive an education not up-to-par with other school districts; I see parents who will choose schools outside of Loveland to pursue a better education for their children.
Teachers and students of Thompson R2-J, you are worth every penny that is spent for salaries, curriculum and school improvements. My generation thankfully received a good education and our communities were willing to pay for it. This generation also deserves a good education and our teachers should receive salaries that allow them to have a decent living. Regretfully, we, the citizens of Loveland, will eventually pay a hefty price for our nearsightedness."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Yvonne Hill, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30570596/students-teachers-deserved-better-outcome

RH Line Calls: School Tax Failures

"I'm so sad about the loss in the election for our children. My grandkids go to three different schools here in town whose teachers are hanging in with them in spite of the fact that the majority of this town does not care what happens to them. The other thing that really bothers me is the signs around town that said there was going to be a 40 percent increase in property taxes if this passed. How in the world could such falsehoods to be plastered all over town? Some people believed them obviously."
"I just called county treasurer's office and assessors' office, and next year the property tax for residential and commercial go up about 18 percent. That means it will bring in an extra $70 million to the county, and of that, the Thompson School District will get about $10.4 million. Of course that's every year, so in the next 10 years, the Thompson School District will get in probably close to $150 million. They should be able to use that money to repair some of the schools and do what needs to be done. They have a lot of money to work with, with the existing structure. I'm glad 3D and 3E were voted down." Editor's note: the current school finance system and TABOR do not allow the scenario laid out here."

Loveland Reporter-Herald RH Line Calls, printed November 13, 2016

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/rh-line-calls/ci_30564519/rh-line-calls-printed-nov-13-2016

Editorial: Despite tax defeats, needs will persist

"Conventional political wisdom has it that tax issues are more likely to pass during a presidential election because turnout is so much higher than in other years.
As has been said many times, this is the year that conventional wisdom was turned on its head.
In Larimer County, tax issues for a mental health and detox center as well as a scientific and cultural facilities district were defeated at the ballot box. Southern Larimer County voters also rejected a mill levy override and bond issue for Thompson School District. Downtown Loveland residents and property owners declined to give taxing and bonding powers to the Downtown Development Authority. A majority of county voters agreed with their counterparts across the state to reject ColoradoCare (Amendment 69) and an increase in the tobacco tax (Amendment 72).
So what's next?
The message sent to elected officials at the county and school district level is that a majority of voters believe they are being taxed enough already. What that means is that any needs that come up will have to be solved using existing budgets, with cuts taken from other programs.
In Larimer County, one of those needs is already showing itself. The Larimer County Jail is reaching its limits. While jail officials have been able to use bail policies and alternative sentencing to ease the pressure at the jail, those alternatives have reached their limits. The mental health and detox center could have had a role in controlling the jail population, but now other options will be needed.
In Thompson School District, leaders won't be able to lean on current budget numbers. Substantial cuts will be needed to address the end of spending money in the district's reserves.
Both must continue to meet state and federal standards, however. Ignoring those standards would open up the possibility of a lawsuit that would cause even more budget problems.
What truly must come next is more participation from residents to help the mental health care system and school district find solutions that will address their operations while maintaining viability compared to their neighbors. While Thompson voters were rejecting tax issues, those in Poudre (Fort Collins), Windsor and St. Vrain (Longmont) were passing theirs.
It will be interesting to see whether Loveland and Berthoud can parlay their low-tax status into an economic development advantage, instead of a low-school-funding disadvantage. History has had a dim view of the second choice in the past, but if this election has taught anything, it's that history can't be used as a guide."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Editorial, printed November 13, 2016

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/editorial/ci_30564517/editorial-despite-tax-defeats-needs-will-persist

Find ways to help youths in Thompson School District

"I heard one of the saddest things I have ever heard last week, and it is even more sad today. Last week, as the students of Berthoud were grappling with yet another loss, one of the middle school students remarked to their teacher, "This community is so over caring about us kids." Is that true? Do we as a community not care about our kids?
As I wake to the headlines of the bond and mill levy proposals failing, I am hoping that child is too young to be aware of the politics surrounding that issue. If you voted for it, you did so because you cared about kids. But here's the deal: if you did not vote for it, I don't automatically assume you do not care about the children of this community. Maybe you truly could not afford the extra money on your taxes or maybe you just didn't agree with the Thompson Reinvented plan. If that is true, I get it, but let us not send the message to kids that we do not care about them. The election is over, so now is the time to find other ways to care about kids.
Volunteer for KidsPak. Read to a first-grader. Help a teacher. When kids ring your doorbell selling cookies or pledges for their "dash-a-thon," give whatever you can. If you own a business, donate your old office furniture or computer. I guarantee it will be better than the 8- to 10-year-old computer the teacher is limping along with.
Be a pseudo-grandparent and teach a kindergartner how to tie his shoes. You do not have to be a parent to get involved and much of what is needed does not involve money. Give your time and attention. Let us make kids aware that we, as adults in this community, do care about kids."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Marcy Cochran, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30555163/find-ways-help-youths-thompson-school-district

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Vote to keep local schools competitive in region

"We are voting “Yes” on 3D and 3E, the mill levy and bond issue. We have lived in Loveland for over 40 years, and it is absolutely time to pass both of these. It has been more than 10 years since we as a community have stepped up for the students in the Thompson R-2J school district.
As former business owners here in Loveland, we know how important it is to stay competitive. We know that future employers look at the strength of our schools before determining whether or not to move their businesses here. We know that a strong school system yields a strong community. Right now our schools are not being funded adequately by the state, and are therefore falling behind other surrounding school districts.
Please join us in voting “Yes” on 3D and 3E and keep our community moving forward."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Bob and Georgia Torson, Loveland (online version with link not available)

We need a high-quality learning environment

"Our community is one with a lot of heart. Heart for our neighbors, heart for our families, heart for our community as a whole. It’s that sense of community pride and ownership that makes Loveland and Berthoud such outstanding places to live. Now is the time to transfer that heart to our community schools.
School districts like ours have been challenged to maintain infrastructure and educational programs in the face of recession-driven cuts to education spending at the state level. These cuts affected districts across Colorado. Communities to our north and south have responded by investing in their schools through mill levies and bonds. They know that a strong system of neighborhood schools translates into a strong, thriving community.
Now is time to make an investment in our Thompson Schools, to help our community keep up with the growth and remain a vibrant, healthy, safe place to live and run a business. Let’s invest in great teachers, 21st century education resources and high quality school environments. Join me in voting “Yes” on 3D and 3E."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Diane Lauer, Loveland (online version with link not available)

School ballot issues are right solution to deal with needs

"I’m voting yes on 3D and 3E, the mill and bond for Thompson schools, and I hope you will, too. As a business owner in our community since 1988, I understand firsthand how important appropriate funding is for our local students. Investing in updated technology, science equipment, facilities, textbooks and working toward improving teacher salaries will help Thompson schools keep their competitive edge.
Withholding funds is not the answer and solves nothing.
• It has been a decade since we passed a mill and a bond for our students.
• We need educated citizens who will become our next generation of skilled employees and entrepreneurs.
• We need competitive salaries so we can attract and keep the very best teachers.
• These funds will stay in our community and will be monitored by local citizens oversight committees.
In order to be successful, businesses must continually update their facilities, their technology, their equipment and their staff salaries. And it is upon us in this community to invest in our schools and our future workforce. I need strong employees just like every other business.
There’s a reason the mill levy and bond are endorsed by the Loveland Business Partnership, the Loveland and Berthoud Chambers of Commerce, the Loveland Reporter-Herald, the Loveland- Berthoud Association of Realtors and many hometown businesses.
We understand that voting “Yes” on 3D and 3E will create a strong school district that is competitive and focused on providing a world-class education for our youngest citizens, future employees and business leaders. 3D and 3E are the right solutions because investing in our students is the smart choice."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Andrew Howard, D.D.S, Loveland (online version with link not available)

Better buildings make students better

"You know the feeling, waking up this time of year in a blanket of cold darkness. Motivation wanes and you’d rather stay in bed than get up and tackle your day.
Imagine how our students feel, spending an average of 11,700 hours in school by the time they graduate — sweating through their day in an overcrowded, stuffy, noisy, windowless classroom.  Not exactly inspirational, but reality for many students in aging schools that average 45-plus years.
Why don’t we value our students' environment as a significant variable in their academic outcomes?  Study after study shows that targeted education dollars spent on improved buildings provide a significant return on investment — school facilities affect student performance:
  • 16 percent of annual academic progress is directly tied to the quality of learning spaces
  • Students in new or modernized buildings outperform higher across a range of assessments than those in older buildings and posted better records for health, attendance, time spent learning, and discipline
  • Facilities upgrades correlated with significantly increased task-performance in addition to math and reading scores due to improved lighting, thermal comfort and air quality, and innovative learning spaces
  • Design elements and systems help the district realize long-term energy savings while contributing to improved student performance in the classroom
  • Community involvement with improved schools allows the district to recoup funding through rental of desirable spaces
While the drive to inspire our students is there, the means are not. Colorado no longer provides capital funding for schools and our district is only able to budget $750,000 annually for 30-plus schools.
We cannot expect our students to perform at high levels in buildings that are substandard. It’s time to move forward and invest responsibly and locally in our students’ future by voting yes on 3D and 3E (Thompson School District) to provide the best opportunities for success!"

Fort Collins Coloradoan Letter to the Editor, submitted by Jason Kersley, Loveland

http://www.coloradoan.com/story/opinion/2016/11/04/letter-better-buildings-make-students-better/93288096/

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Master Plan Committee opened eyes to district's needs

"I have been part of the Master Plan Committee for the last two years. What a perspective changing experience this proved to be! Here's what I learned:
• Our district's leadership did and continues to do an outstanding job of fiscal management. In a time when other school districts had no reserves, Thompson had a healthy balance and was able to weather the storm of extreme budget cuts due to TABOR.
• TABOR dictates the money schools are given from state taxes, and the state lowers the amount collected when the economy goes south, but does not rise after this drop unless voted on again by the voters. We are paying less in taxes now than we were in 2009.
• Districtwide maintenance needs are about $100 million with $250,000 set aside annually for these maintenance requirements.
• TSD doesn't have enough seats in the district due to booming growth in the north, east and south (Loveland High School has 1,800-plus in their attendance are, 1,600 attending and 1,500 building capacity).
• Closing schools was reviewed as an option of how best to meet the financial needs of our district. This was the least satisfactory option, but most likely option if a better solution couldn't be found.
• "Thompson Reinvented" was created and will be an absolute win for our district, the students/families, the finances, the staff ... everyone. Not only does it address the growth, it is visionary for our future as well.
• Thompson Reinvented plus closing the significant salary gap for district employees would cost our household approximately $23 a month (less than one lunch out a month).
My children have now graduated, but I assure you, we will all be voting "Yes" for 3D and 3E, and keeping this money local to be spent where it matters most: on our future."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Shana Cundall, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30533758/master-plan-committee-opened-eyes-districts-needs

Many reasons point to support for school issues

"It's time to act responsibly and support our children's education. Education-related taxes over the past 14 years have decreased 21.9 percent, and Thompson receives 27 percent less for education than surrounding districts. The increase stated by opponents is incorrect: the increase would be on education taxes only, not your total tax bill, and is determined by the property value assessed by the county assessor.
An estimated 6.50 mills for mill levy override funding is based on 2017 preliminary property valuations. Estimated tax impact per $100,000 actual home value is $4.31/month ($51.72/year). The rate for annual bond debt service is 9.044 mills. Estimated impact per $100,000 actual home value is $6/month ($72/year).
The bond addresses $71 million in deferred maintenance and will build schools in growth areas. The MLO will help replace 36 buses that are past the 20-year replacement age. Surrounding districts pay employees 14 percent more than Thompson, on average. The mill will help close the wage gap and improve teacher retention. Thompson desperately needs curriculum replacement across all content areas, which are well past their seven-year cycle, with the exception of math. Up-to-date curriculum is crucial and has a direct impact on student achievement and success.
If TSD doesn't receive additional funding, underutilized schools could face closures and program options could be reduced. Loveland High is currently at capacity; if students don't live in that attendance area, they may not have access to the International Baccalaureate program offered only there. Repairs will not be addressed and new schools won't be built, resulting in longer bus rides and larger class sizes.
The choice is clear. Please vote "Yes" on 3D and 3E to support our children and fix our schools."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Maia Mattise-Lorenzen, Berthoud

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30533760/many-reasons-point-support-school-issues

Helping schools strengthens the economy, prepares students

As a recent Loveland High School graduate studying to be a teacher, I support 3D and 3E, the mill and bond for Thompson schools. Thirteen years of wonderful teachers and the International Baccalaureate diploma I earned at LHS prepared me well for college. Passing these issues will ensure future students have these opportunities and more.

I understand the importance of well-maintained and secure schools, varied educational programs to reach diverse learners, and strong teachers staying in our district. As a Loveland native, I someday hope to teach in the schools where I grew up. Passage of these issues will strengthen the local economy, helping me earn enough to live and work here.

I fear for what will happen if my community turns its back on our students by not approving both 3D and 3E. Schools will close, class sizes will grow, families will continue to move to newer and better equipped schools in neighboring districts, and teachers and support staff will follow them. School boundaries will change to address overcrowding. Student achievement will suffer due to outdated curriculum and materials.

We have the opportunity and responsibility to invest in our students now. Join me in voting YES on 3D and 3E.

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Alexandra Ward, Greeley

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30529973/helping-schools-strengthens-economy-prepares-students

Thompson Reinvented is a plan to benefit all students

"I want to add my voice to those of local businesses, the faith community, educators and parents in strong support of 3D and 3E, the Thompson School District mill levy and bond.
Schools are important for the entire community, and Thompson School District 3D and 3E will lead to better jobs, increased home value appreciation, and improved quality of life. During my time serving on the State Board of Education and now on the Education and Workforce Committee in Congress, I have observed excellent school districts as well as districts that need improvement. One of the most important factors that leads to success is investment from the community. 3D and 3E will truly allow the district to excel, bringing pride and prosperity to the greater Loveland area.
The resources from 3D and 3E would allow the district to follow a plan that the entire community had input into called Thompson Reinvented. Thompson Reinvented not only includes improvements at every school in the district, but also the construction of two needed new schools. I strongly encourage Thompson School District Voters to take the next step to make our schools even better."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Colorado District 2 US House Representative Jared Polis, Boulder

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30530463/thompson-reinvented-is-plan-benefit-all-students

Business community is behind school district's request

"Our community is asking us to invest in the future by passing ballot issues 3D and 3E. This investment will have a positive impact for years to come. By performing needed upgrades to school buildings, we protect taxpayer assets. By updating curriculum and educational programs, we can boost student achievement. By investing in our schools, we improve the overall economic vitality of the whole community.
We are being asked to vote yes on these two issues because we know that without this investment, we cannot continue to improve the quality of education in our schools. That's why 3D and 3E have earned the endorsement of the Loveland and Berthoud chambers of commerce, the Loveland-Berthoud Association of Realtors, Loveland Business Partnership, Jorgensen Laboratories and many more local businesspeople.
The projects included in the bond represent real need, not a "wish list." Community members familiar with our aging and inadequate buildings know this to be true. Parents whose kids have been late for school or missed events due to bus breakdowns know the need is real. We cannot expect students to excel on today's measures of achievement using yesterday's curriculum and textbooks. Investing in Thompson Schools now, by passing 3D and 3E, is smart for students and our entire community."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Lori Hvizda Ward, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30530461/business-community-is-behind-school-districts-request

Opponents use math error to scare voters

"It's interesting that opponents of Ballot Initiatives 3D and 3E to help finance and repair our crumbling schools have taken it upon themselves to scare homeowners with false cost information.
Specifically, a crop of yellow yard signs have sprung up in front of the usual vacant lots warning homeowners of a "40 percent property tax increase" if these measures pass. Perhaps their creators could use a basic math refresher.
The Larimer County Assessor reports a median home value of $246,000, with a median property tax bill of $1,570, or $130.83 per month. The language in measures 3D and 3E would increase residential taxes by a combined $10.31/month per $100,000 of assessed value. For the home owner above that is $25.36 per month, or an increase of 19.4 percent — and that before any itemized deductions, or senior property tax exemptions, both of which would reduce the actual percentage even further.
Nineteen and four-tenths percent isn't the same as 40 percent, no matter where you went to school. For about 85 cents a day, we have a chance to raise property values, attract and retain the best teachers, and fix our crumbling school buildings. Don't let opponents use misleading math to scare you away from helping our schools and our kids."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Shawn Huckaby, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30526768/opponents-use-math-error-scare-voters

Now is the best time to invest in schools

"We have it made in Northern Colorado. Beautiful natural surroundings, great weather and an expanding economy. No wonder home prices are on the rise. As owners of this paradise, we have a lot to potentially gain.
One way to change our fortune would be to fail to take care of our schools. We need to pass 3D and 3E in order to create the educational resources that can match the emerging economic ones. No question this requires a substantial investment on behalf of the taxpayers. However, the cost of not passing these initiatives will surely be much larger. Interest rates will continue to rise, the curriculum will become more outdated, and even more deferred maintenance costs will be incurred.
Perhaps worst of all, we will still need to fix our schools."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Sean Rutledge, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30526764/now-is-best-time-invest-schools

School issues will allow us to pay it forward

"Signs are up in Berthoud and Loveland: "Stop the 40 percent tax increase." Your entire property tax bill will not increase: only the school portion will (about 17 percent of your total property tax bill). I believe this misleading, misrepresentation of fact is presented by the likes of Liberty Watch and the Independence Institute in Denver. Their common goal: stop taxation that provides for free, public and equal education.
The Loveland property tax bill also provides funding for Larimer County, the health district, Colorado Water Conservancy and pest control. In Berthoud, it also provides for the fire district and library.
The increases for residences per $100,000 dollars of assessed value will be:
Mill levy: $4.31 per month.
Bond Issue: $6 per month.
The mill levy increase will take a small step to provide teachers, food service, bus drivers: every person that works for Thompson the salaries to become more competitive with surrounding districts'.
In 2007, the mill assessment for Thompson dropped by 5 mills. The proposal to raise the mill levy by 6.5 mills is only 1.5 more that we were paying before 2007. The current assessment for Thompson schools is 40 mills. St. Vrain's (Longmont) and Poudre's (Fort Collins) are 53-54. Poudre and St. Vrain have a ballot issue to raise their assessment to 60 mills. You can do the math.
The bond issue increase, 9.04 is for buildings and repairs. By law this money cannot be used for salaries.
Public education is a perfect example of "paying it forward." I no longer have children in school. Taxpayers before me paid for them just as I pay now. This issue affects the economy and quality of life in our communities. We all must be accountable for education. Vote YES 3D and 3E."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Joan Fiene, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30526766/school-issues-will-allow-us-pay-it-forward

Report on school needs opened eyes for newcomer

"As a fairly new Loveland resident I don't have a sense of history regarding this community or the school district. We love the area and our children are getting a good education from very dedicated teaching staff. All the teachers are supportive and truly care about the educational success of my kids.
The Thompson Reinvented report was eye-opening for me and answered many questions regarding the school facility conditions I noticed when attending school functions. The population growth is happening and now is the time to prepare. The changes to the north and east parts of Loveland are noticeable in just the three years I have lived here.
Transplants want to relocate to vibrant communities with good schools. Good schools are judged not only on their education scores but also on the condition of the buildings the children attend. TSD is smart to plan for growth while enhancing and utilizing their current infrastructure. This can keep costs down while maintaining the history of the school district and the related neighborhoods.
Stagnant funding sources are no match for inflation. Costs increase for office supplies, utilities, employees, etc. The Colorado minimum wage increases each year by the Consumer Price Index and has changed 14.6 percent in the past nine years. A 1 percent increase for TSD employees is in line with inflation.
Raises for 2,000 TSD employees will flow back into the local economy, as will the construction funds. The economic vitality of Loveland and the surrounding communities will be enhanced by keeping people employed in the district limits.
The plan is concise and necessary to the future of the school district and also the economic vitality of the community you live in."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Carrie Robinson, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30520959/report-school-needs-opened-eyes-newcomer

Need for local funding help cannot be underestimated

"Authors of Colorado's Constitution created local school districts, believing that citizens closest to our children would care most about their welfare. In recent years, supplemental funding was provided from the state budget, but the loss of that revenue has created a funding crisis in our local Thompson School District.
Thompson's present-day Master Planning Committee, composed of diverse educators and community members, spent more than two years studying the needs and resources of our rapidly growing and changing student population. Their goal was to provide durable facilities and funding, within the financial means of our residents, that will meet the needs of our students for the foreseeable future. The Committee held public forums to provide information and to answer questions.
Following lengthy study and discussion, items 3D and 3E on our 2016 ballot were approved by our locally elected Board of Education. The urgent need for our support cannot be overstated or postponed.
Our students in Thompson schools deserve an education comparable to that of surrounding districts. Our local communities cannot thrive without a healthy school district.
Please vote "Yes" on 3D and 3E for the children and for our local quality of life."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Jerry Chase, Loveland

http://www.reporterherald.com/opinion/letters/ci_30520960/need-local-funding-help-cannot-be-underestimated

Look at details to see why schools need support

"Fiscally speaking, 3D and 3E offer our community significant bang for our buck. “Thompson Reinvented” proposes a reasonable, longterm solution to overcrowding in some of our schools by repurposing the existing LHS campus to a new K-8 and building a new high school.
What goes into thoughtfully building an innovative high school to address our growing population and provide a significant return on our investment?
• Site development on 93 acres comprises a large portion of construction costs, including surveys, paving for circulation, parking for students and staff, field work, etc.
• Some costs are offset by utilizing property that TSD already owns.
• The “base building” of the school is 245,000 square feet for 2,000 students and estimated to cost $59,167,500, compared to Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins at 290,000 square feet for 1,800 students. The FRHS “base building,” built over 10 years ago in 2005, cost $51,910,000.
• Natatoriums, theaters and sports facilities that serve as part of a comprehensive high school similar to MVHS and TVHS require specialized quality design for aquatics, acoustics and performance, sports-related safety compliance, etc.
• Contingency accounts for unexpected issues that inevitably arise. Additionally, escalation factors on construction costs of 15-20 percent for materials and labor take into account the project may take several years.
• At High Plains K-8, an additional year resulted in an increased cost of $3 million with 10,000 square feet less classroom space. Enrollment is approaching 400 students and it’s already closed to enrollment due to families’ desire to be part of this innovativeschool. 
Big picture: New schools integrate design elements that help the district realize long-term energy savings while contributing to improved student performance. Voting “Yes” on 3D and 3E is a win-win for our entire community."

Loveland Reporter-Herald Letter to the Editor, submitted by Stacee Kersley, Loveland (online version with link not available)