3E a win-win | AspenTimes.com

3E a win-win

Dear Editor:

Community, I love you. I moved here in 2003. The years I have spent here have been the happiest of my life. As someone who has lived many places, I can tell you this place is special. Not just because of natural beauty, but because of our sense of community. In many places people walk around in anonymity, but here we are too small for that. You can’t go to the grocery without seeing someone you know.

Since 2009 I have been the music teacher at Basalt Elementary School. Working in this capacity is great. I love spending my days doing music with children. I love seeing them smile, grow, be creative and feel good about themselves!

I’m sure you have heard about the budget concerns at every level of government. Facing those budget reductions made 2010-2011 a tough year at school: We lost positions; we lost funds; classes are bigger. Overall teachers are enormously grateful that the district was able to shield our classrooms from the harsh limits of the budget in 2011-2012.

However, economic realities at the state and federal level are frightening. With more budget reductions looming, next year is projected to be far worse. We would lose a significant number of teachers; class size would go up dramatically. Transportation and field trips would be history, as would art, music and physical education classes. Many of us – myself included – would be newly unemployed.

Here’s the good news: We have the power to change this right here in our valley! We have the power to recover 94 percent of the projected funding cuts without being beholden to state and federal governments for the health of our schools, by voting yes on 3E for the mill levy. Here’s how it works: If you are a homeowner, your RFSD taxes are projected to decrease as a result of lower property values. Passing the mill levy would allow RFSD to keep 45 percent of that amount. Voting yes on 3E means that we keep our schools in good shape AND you pay lower property taxes. Sounds like a win-win to me!

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I can hear some of you saying, “But I don’t even have kids, so this doesn’t effect me!” Wrong! Good schools enhance property values. Bad schools, well …? If you are troubled by the declining property values now, what do you think is going to happen if our schools go from tight belts to no belts? What if half of the teachers you know are suddenly unemployed? It might mean more foreclosures on your street, more people moving away because they can’t find a job. None of that is going to help our property values.

I worked in many different capacities before I found my niche, and I’m glad I did because I got to know so many of you in the process. I am writing today to ask you for a favor: At election time, please vote yes on 3E.

Maureen Hinkle

music teacher, Basalt Elementary School