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Letter to the Editor: Economy and education

Posted: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

What does economic development have to do with our education system? What does it have to do with the old Polston Primary Property? I believe that these two issues go hand in hand.

I have been very quiet about my feelings regarding these issues, but as someone who has owned businesses, run non-profits and invested in Alamosa for over 27 years, I believe we have some work to do and it is up to all of us to roll up our sleeves and do some work! Our schools have an effect on our ability to attract businesses, and for businesses to attract talent. It is a moral imperative that our young people attend schools of excellence. Schools filled with excellent teachers lead by inspirational leaders. It starts right here in this boardroom. You representing us, have an awesome responsibility to ensure that all of our children get the best education possible, and that you hire the best talent to teach them, to inspire them, to shape the future of our community.

Now what does this have to do with the Polston Property? Many of us, in the community, young and old, conservative and liberal, Latino and Anglo etc., have been working VERY HARD, to provide an amenity that will serve our community in perpetuity. And, what becomes of this land that was Polston Elementary should not only be good for a few but for the whole community. It should bring in new ideas, like opportunities for ranchers and farmers to sell their food to valley residents, for people with less to grow their food, for music lovers to listen to live music in a clam shell that will protect us from the elements. The ideas for this park germinated over two years ago. Many citizens have their hands in the planning process and we invite everyone in this room to join us to ensure you all have a stake in the success of this project. These ideas and strategies for a sustainable Alamosa came together through a grass roots effort to bring something bigger than ourselves to the community.

The mission of Alamosa School District is to maintain a culture of educational excellence that:

* Promotes exemplary academic success

* Develops confidence and abilities to embrace the challenges of a rapidly changing world

* Encourages personal growth

* Nurtures individual talents

* Fosters a culture of respect that values and celebrates diversity

* Provides a safe and healthy environment

As you make plans and decide on what is best for this property, you leave a legacy for the community. What will you tell your children? Did you follow our mission for academic success, nurturing personal growth, fostering a culture of respect that values and celebrates diversity? Did you provide a safe and healthy environment? Did you reflect on the mission of the Alamosa Schools with every decision that you made? Did you honor your agreements with the leaders of this process/group?

Will you be able to say, “See that park over there, where the people are gardening, where families get to listen to live music, where our farmers are able to distribute their food, where those kids are playing and learning? We helped make that happen. We as a leaders in the community helped to ensure that the Healthy Living Park, (which is not just a community garden) became a reality for our community.”

This is not an indictment of Dan Russell. He is a good man, just as we are all good people in this room with good intentions. But, through this project not only will you get the full-appraised value for the schools; you will ensure that you are following your mission, as you must in every decision that you make.

Back to economic development. Amenities like a healthy living park and excellent schools attract people to our community. These are basic and important components of economic development.

We invite the whole community, including Dan Russell, to ensure that young people have opportunities for enrichment and to ensure that we as a community attract people with talent and future businesses as well. I believe by investing in this property with our effort and time, as we have, we are investing in the amenities that will attract people to our community. By being visionary, by seeing the importance of planning for our community, you are being stewards for not only your students that you serve but for the future growth of Alamosa. Alamosa where people from all walks of life can enjoy the Healthy Living Park.

Julie Mordecai,

Past owner of the Cottonwood Inn Bed and Breakfast, who currently owns her own consulting company called the Complete Non Profit, where she helps with strategic planning for non-profits president, Alamosa High School Accountability Committee

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