To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I had some initial reservations regarding the Monument Mountain renovation. "Why is a 50-year-old school old, but a 50-year-old house is not? Why can't we just replace the windows, roof, furnace, etc. like any homeowner would do over 50 years?" Well, for better or worse, we managed to not do anything other than replace the roof once at Monument. Even much of the flooring is the same -- some 7,000 students later. As homeowners, the thousands of dollars we expect to pay for a new roof or furnace, escalates to millions when the structure is 114,000 square feet.
Imagine my 50-year-old house does not meet building safety or ADA codes, and I am now in a wheelchair. Our school has been out of compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act and inevitably our major repairs will trigger us as no longer being "grandfathered-in" under the ADA. Again, the thousands or tens of thousands I would pay to make my home accessible gets turned into millions and tens of millions simply by the scale of the building.
"OK, I can see the need for these major repairs and it does make sense to be able to do them proactively rather than wait for an emergency repair. But, can't we just have a ‘good enough' school, instead of a ‘really good' school?" Here's where the state reimbursement makes a difference. Suppose the builder says he might give me a 20 percent discount if I spend $30,000, or he'll definitely give me a 50 percent discount if I spend $50,000. I quickly figure out that for the same out-of-pocket expense, I can have a really good renovation instead of just "good enough." The state may reimburse (no guarantee) at a lower rate if we only do the minimum repairs. But, because we are upgrading our school, we have already been approved for the highest 48.5 percent reimbursement rate.
This vote means my taxes will increase by approximately $90 per 100,000. If this vote is turned down, we are still facing tens of millions of dollars of repairs on an emergency basis, so I don't see any guarantee my taxes won't increase regardless. I do know the elementary and middle schools will be paid off in 10 years.
Of course these repairs should have been budgeted years ago. Theoretically we should budget now for the next 50-100 years, but money is always tight and we do the best we can in each generation. Fifty years ago another generation paid for my children's schools. On Nov. 5 I will vote "yes" for the next generations.
JULIA F. KRAHM