Letter: Schools need improvements

Our first Basalt band concert of the school year is Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Basalt Middle School. This band program is more than 150 students strong, with a very supportive booster program of almost 400 members. This wonderful organization has expanded greatly over the past few years under the caring tutelage of band director Nick Lenio. It’s a joy to hear fifth-graders, who just two months ago didn’t know how to hold an instrument much less play a note, excitedly burst out their first tunes. I get teary-eyed listening to the high schoolers, who’ve dedicated years to their playing, play so smoothly and beautifully. The pride exhibited by the students is overwhelming and contagious.

Over the past few years, parents and family members are forced to come in shifts to see their students play due to the inadequate and outdated space at the middle school auditorium. The entire performance is special, and it’s a great opportunity to allow younger students to see “what could be” in a few years. All students and family members should be able to attend the entire performance. The auditorium is used frequently by the elementary school for its plays and functions and by the middle and high schools for concerts, plays, choir and meetings. Zumba classes, school honor-roll assemblies, Maroon Bel Canto Children’s Chorus rehearsals — the list goes on and on. This spaced is used constantly. It has become too small and is in woeful need of an update.

This is just one of the many reasons to vote “yes” on Roaring Fork School District ballot issue 3B. Schools from Basalt to Glenwood need repairs, updates and expansions of their facilities to accommodate increasing enrollment. Even such basics as heating and cooling systems are outdated and inadequate. Affordable rental housing should be provided to attract and retain great teachers and staff. This valley has such a fantastic school system with such care and energy given to our students to make sure they thrive in all areas. The facilities should reflect as much. Please vote “yes” on 3B.

Katie Custodio

President, Basalt Band Boosters