Vote yes to bond

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With regards to the recent school bond ballots you have received, I would like to make a pitch for voting “yes,” in favor of this bond. Like many of you, I had really hoped we could upgrade the Ruder and Glacier Gateway schools for under $20 million and not increase our property taxes substantially. After attending the meetings and hearing the architectural accounts of what we might upgrade in that price range, it made much more sense to replace the Glacier-Gateway facility and add more space to Ruder rather than applying a bandage of exterior facelifts and remodels that would only extend the life of these older facilities.

We are a growing community and our town has never looked better. We should be proud that people want to move here, bring children to our schools, and make this a location for their home and business. Columbia Falls is thriving and when I look around, I’m proud to call this place home.

Our schools should be safe environments where our young people can focus on learning. We have excellent teachers spread amongst the four schools and I have been thrilled with the level of education my children are receiving in this district.

The Glacier-Gateway School is full of leaky roofs, broken or rusty sinks and plumbing, cracked walls, drafty windows, non-secure multiple entrances, etc. It has served our students for nearly 80 years and has had numerous remodels.

The school works hard to make it look nice on the surface and the teachers make due with the old sinks and heating every day ... but like an old vehicle, at some point you put more money into keeping it running than you do in starting with a fresh new one. The Ruder School has also worked hard to share learning spaces and convert the gymnasium into dining hall space twice a day while they bulge with the new student enrollment in recent years.

Our district has hauled in portables in the past to address growth issues but that is another temporary bandage that doesn’t really address the issue of population expansion and solve the problem for the long term. Support our young people and teachers in this fine community with a “YES Vote” on the building bond. This is a great investment in our youth, in our future, and in our community.

Holly McKenzie

Columbia Falls

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