A small investment in our children’s future | AspenTimes.com

A small investment in our children’s future

Dear Editor:

Let me start by saying that I have a middle and high school student, I volunteer frequently in the schools and I help out substituting in the schools. I have seen many cuts in the 11 years I have been a part of the schools, and, although some programs and teachers are sorely missed, I believe most of the cuts, up till now, have been healthy, house-cleaning measures.

The proposed school tax, Issue 2B is a four-year only, stopgap measure just to keep our local schools operating at their current, already financially reduced level of education. Colorado’s funding rate per student is 44th out of 50 in our nation – sixth from the bottom! Our schools already have cut $2 million over the past several years, and without this tax they will need to cut another projected $2.5 million over the next four, seriously debilitating the ability to educate our children.

Although specific cuts have not been finalized, it is likely that if this tax doesn’t pass, one of many important items we could lose will be our school buses. Let’s say currently 1,000 of the roughly 1,500 students take the bus – if parents had to drive, let’s say two students per car – that could be 500 more car trips every morning and afternoon on the roads all funneling to an already backed-up traffic circle on Highway 82.

I’m not going to go into the effects of each line item we could lose, from programs like college counseling to the arts, and from athletics to teachers for struggling and excelling kids. The single biggest impact, in my book, would be larger class sizes. Anyone who has ever spent time with our current classes of 18 to 24 or more kids in one classroom (as I have) can tell you that it is already hard to help each student reach their potential. But our wonderful teachers do it amazingly well; Aspen High School was rated No. 1 in the state among public high schools. Our dropout rate is minuscule; the percentage that goes on to college each year is close to 100 percent. This level of excellence in education will be impossible to maintain should the class sizes grow larger.

If the quality of local education declines, the quality of our community could decline with it. We have doctors, lawyers, engineers, writers, ski instructors, accountants, nurses, realtors, secretaries, and educators, etc., all with children in our schools. We need quality schools to attract and keep quality professionals and community members who help make Aspen’s community and resort first-class.

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Who out there would not put a quarter or 30 cents in a cup every time you spend a $100 locally for the health of our community and the future of the next generation? Our children are the professionals and community members of the future. Think about it, 30 cents per $100 really is a small price to pay to invest in our future!

Vote “yes” on 2B!

Lisa Bush

Aspen

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