Message from the Superintendent 5/25/21

As I shared earlier this month, the Manitou Springs School District (MSSD) is preparing to celebrate its 150th year of teaching and learning in 2022 and commemorate Manitou Springs Elementary School’s century milestone. As we celebrate the past, we have an opportunity to create the future—honoring our roots, continuing longstanding traditions, and ensuring that students’ experiences today are as great as the experiences of the students who came before them.

I’m excited to share that the opportunity to create the future and attend to our district’s aging facilities will be supported by $9M in Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grants. We were notified late last week that MSSD projects have been recommended for funding by the BEST board. To receive the grants, a successful bond in November will be necessary for us to generate matching funding.

The BEST funding will go toward two specific projects—new and remodeled middle school/high school campus facilities and roof improvements on several facilities. However, the school district is considering a comprehensive bond package that, in addition to these two projects, touches all four of our schools—addressing maintenance concerns that have continually been deferred, safety and security issues, and innovative educational programs and spaces necessary to continue to prepare our students for their futures. Specifically, a November 2021 bond would include investments in the following:

  • New and remodeled middle school/high school campus facilities.
  • Improvements, safety enhancements, and educational upgrades for each school.
  • Projects that will add valuable amenities accessible to our entire community.
  • Investments in outdoor facilities where students can safely learn, train, and play.

  • The most recent improvements to our schools were completed in 1988 and 2002. With the bonds from the 2002 election paid off, it’s time to prepare our schools to serve students for the next 20 years and beyond. These investments were identified as part of a six-month master planning process to prioritize facility improvement projects districtwide. This collaborative process included the school board, the executive team, the visioning team, staff, students, and community members, and involved analyzing existing facility conditions and educational adequacy.

    Over the past 11 years, the Budget Stabilization Factor has resulted in $16M of lost funding for MSSD. The Colorado legislature has used the Budget Stabilization Factor (formerly the “negative factor”) since 2009 to reduce school funding by the percentage necessary to balance the state budget—even during times of strong economic growth. Given the way school funding works in Colorado, we simply don’t have the money in our budget to attend to these facility issues or provide the matching funds required by BEST without our voters approving a bond.

    Be on the lookout for more on our potential November 2021 bond. This summer, we will begin to disseminate educational materials and deliver presentations to the community about the condition of our schools and our plans to restore MSSD facilities to honor their history and continue their legacy.
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