EDUCATIONAL EXCISE TAX

Sean KendallDiversity

The following statement was made to City Council at their May 3, 2011 meeting by Ruth Blackmore on behalf of PLAN-Boulder:

PLAN-Boulder supports the staff recommendation to enter into an agreement with the Boulder Valley School District to use $3.5M in EET funds for renovating Mapleton School for use as an early childhood education center.

Mapleton School, established in 1889 on a hilltop overlooking the city, served our community´s children for over 100 years. It provides an ideal setting for pre-schoolers with its mature shade trees, safe and friendly neighborhood, and grassy playground. Mapleton has turned out excellent Boulder citizens, including some PLAN-Boulder members.

Mapleton is a public building, paid for by Boulder taxpayers, and we believe that it should stay a public building. Short of the city buying the school from the school district, the best way to keep this historical treasure as a public building is to use it as a public school. Failure to renovate this building could result in either its deterioration or sale or both. Hopefully, we have learned from the Washington School experience how important a school is to its neighborhood and how offended the entire city becomes when a historic public school building is sold to a private
developer.

It is a concern of opponents that children will be transported from outlying areas. The alternative of attaching pre-schools to existing neighborhood schools sounds good until one sees that the attendance areas for BVSD´s neighborhood schools extend far beyond the walking or biking capacity of any pre-schooler. Note that alternate pre-school locations at Crestview and Eisenhower elementary schools will also require transport. The Crestview attendance area extends from Broadway to 63rd Street and the Eisenhower attendance area extends from Arapahoe Avenue to South Boulder Road. Most of the children that this program is designed to serve are going to be transported regardless of where the programs take place.

The school district needs space to host early childhood education programs and Mapleton is an empty school waiting to host those children.This is an opportunity to invest in Boulder´s children and Boulder´s heritage. We urge you to authorize the use of EET funds to renovate Mapleton School.