In just a very short time our community has changed. Drugs, thefts, use of weapons, break ins, and child exploitation just to name a few crimes, has increased throughout our community. Where you live does matter, because if you live in the “right” place you don’t see this happening. These crimes are only a matter of time before they are on your front door step without warning.
As the school district superintendent, I can tell you that our schools and community need the ability to hire additional police officers and school resource officers. On March 5, 2018 the Lloyd McMillan gym at Montrose High School was filled with concerned parents and community members regarding the many threats that were being made during the previous six-week period. During that time there were several felony arrests made for threats against the schools.
The school district has taken action to improve the safety of your schools. The school board has already spent $1.5 million to improve the safety at every school. The school board has hired a director of Safety and Security. The district staff has written and been awarded another $2.4 million in grants to continue to improve safety and communication between first responders, our police and fire departments. What happens when there aren’t enough police to respond? It doesn’t matter what the school district has done if the men and women in blue don’t arrive first!
Adding six additional police officers (working 10-hour shifts; currently the officers work 12-hour shifts) and two additional school resource officers bringing the total to four (one full-time at MHS, one full-time at Centennial, one full-time at Columbine, and one for the four elementary schools), will make a difference for the safety in our schools and community. Our schools and our society are not what they were when my generation attended school. Our society isn’t what it was even 10 years ago.
It is time for our community to step up and do what the community said on March 5, 2018, the community needs to take action. Pass 2A! The sales tax will be supported by the numerous tourists that we all see every day, that will help our community we live in. For the small amount of 0.58 cents on a $100 purchase to improve our school and community safety, this is a no brainer; vote yes on 2A!
Stephen Schiell is the Montrose County School District superintendent.