4A Bond in Monument fails to pass


Ashlynn Vrieze

According to the Lewis Palmer School District website, “With continued growth and future enrollment, overcrowding has brought challenges to most Lewis-Palmer schools.” Every day around 900 students attend Lewis Palmer Middle School. The issue with this is space. When the 4A and 4B bond failed to pass last year, portables were essential to prevent overcrowding in the classrooms.

Ashlynn Vrieze, Ranger Review Reporter

The 4A bond in Monument, Colorado was created for the purpose of building a new elementary school, and converting Bear Creek Elementary School back into a middle school. The school district tried to pass a similar bond last year, which would also make a new elementary and middle school. When election day came, this bond did not pass with a large majority of the community voting no. This year, the 4A bond lost by a smaller percentage of 45-55.  

“That is an improvement from a year ago,” Robert Foster, the executive director of personnel and student services in District 38 said. “So perhaps the message of growth and needing another school is starting to make an impact with the community.”

Supporter of the 4A bond, Darin Lewandowski, ran 100 miles to raise awareness for the bond and the needs of our school district. “I’m very disappointed at the outcome [of the vote],” Lewandowski said in his interview for the “Gazette”. “They’re scrambling for how to best utilize whatever space they have. It just seems to make sense.”

Newly elected member of the D38 school district, Ron Shwartinz, told the “Tribune” that he does not “think it’s very fair that children suffer because adults can’t come to an agreement.”

Whether passing the bond is fair or not, the number of supporters is about equal to the number of citizens not in favor of the bond.   

“We’re an affluent community, we can afford to have our taxes go up a little bit, but just be honest with us. We’re tired of being ripped off, of being lied to. It’s disingenuous,” Derek Araje said in his interview with the “Gazette.” “I will fight every bond that’s not the most cost-effective and fiscally responsible bond.”

Like Derek Araje, there are many other community members opposed to the bond for several reasons. The website “build38better” was created by opposed members and lists reasons not to vote for the bond. 

The website includes arguments such as,the new plan requires moving 6th graders from their neighborhood school to justify the excesses of adding a 900-seat middle school. Is the district acting in the interest of kids and families?” along with, “The school district has not clearly explained a plan to attract and retain high-quality educators as part of the district expansion.”

With the result of the bond being “No”, the district cannot construct a new elementary school to solve the problems being faced. 

“The long term impacts,” Robert Foster said, “or the time we’re working against is to put up a middle school. By not passing the bond, you’re putting that time frame out two to three years now, and perhaps four years, which could have an effect on all of the district with regard to space, seating, and program offering in the elementary schools.”

“Because of the crowding and because of the problem the middle school presents, we’re in a very interesting dynamic, five elementary schools feed one middle school, one middle school feeds two high schools.” Foster said. “That feeder pattern, so to speak, is unique, and it may present some programmatic challenges, like how to offer the best programming and the best thing for kids throughout the future.”

With the challenges our school district is facing, the effects can be crucial. These problems can only be resolved next year when citizens get another opportunity to vote for or against the bond. 

“This is important as a community,” Lewandowski said in the “Gazette.” “We need to come together and provide our students the best possible learning environment.”