Basalt student enters school funding debate
October 26, 2011
BASALT – Most seventh-graders are as excited about local politics as they are about trips to the dentist, but Emily Adams is sinking her teeth into a campaign for increased funding for the downvalley school district.
Adams, 12, a student at Basalt Elementary School, heard all the talk about the 3E ballot question this fall and decided to get involved. She realized her future education was at stake.
The 3E ballot question asks for a property tax increase that would generate up to $4.8 million annually for Roaring Fork School District Re-1. The additional revenues would benefit public schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Proponents say the local property tax increase is necessary to offset losses in state funding.
Adams created a website that shows a kid’s perspective of the ballot issue and launched it last week.
“I want to support my schools by making people aware of it,” she said.
The website features the photography of her mom, professional photographer Catherine Adams, to illustrate Emily’s ideas and bring her words to life. The images and text convey how invaluable music, art, team sports and field trips are to the school experience.
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“If you give a kid music,” the first segment says, with the picture of Emily’s hands on a clarinet, “you begin to create harmony.”
“If you give a kid art,” the next segment says, “you begin to see their world.” It features the hand of Emily’s brother drawing a picture.
“If you give a kid a team,” the website says with a picture of Emily throwing a soccer ball, “you begin to build community spirit.”
It finishes with a picture of a sunlit aspen leaf and copy that says, “If you give a kid a field trip, you begin to reconnect them with nature.”
Emily said she concentrated on art, music, sports and field trips because they would be among the financial cuts the school district likely will take if 3E fails. She wants to make sure she has access to a well-rounded education through middle school and high school.
“If you lose these things, you really lose community,” Catherine said.
Emily hopes her website gets voters to really think about the issues at stake in the election.
“Once they see it from a kid’s point of view, they see we’re trying to save our schools,” Emily said.
Catherine said she was proud that Emily undertook such a time-consuming endeavor. Emily had the vision for the website and created most of it on her own. With two professional photographers as parents, Emily has some creativity, Catherine said: Her husband, Gregg, also shoots photos.
Catherine said she learned some things about her daughter that she didn’t know.
“It makes me realize what things are really important to her,” Catherine said.