Help our schools, vote yes for 3E
October 8, 2011
I am writing to urge my friends and neighbors to support ballot initiative 3E, the Roaring Fork School District mill levy override this coming November. As this is primarily a mail-in ballot election it is imperative that you make sure that you receive your ballot – otherwise, you and your children will have no voice in this important issue.
This is an era when we are all feeling sorely underfunded, and it is difficult to think about paying more taxes at a time when every penny counts, but I encourage everyone to think about the consequences of continuing to cut funds to education. Strong schools raise property values by creating vibrant and engaging communities and attracting employers.
But all of that pales when you think of the effect that a vibrant school community has on our children. Right now, our children have the opportunity to explore technology, play an instrument, discover art, music and theater, play sports, go to the nurse when they feel bad, ride the bus to and from school, or just get their teacher’s attention.
Without this mill levy override there will be no new computers in an era when technology becomes outdated every two years; bands, sports and maybe even the arts will become the province of those who can afford to pay for it out of their own pockets; and the one nurse left in the entire school district – well, too bad if your kid’s sick.
Transportation? Better get a mini-van for the neighborhood carpool. Getting the attention of a teacher? Well, if (and this is a big if) we can attract quality teachers for the pittance Re-1 can afford to pay them, our children may have to wait until the other 26 kids ask their questions first. Re-1 hasn’t had new textbooks in three years, so don’t count on any new ones. Good thing they’ve got the Internet … oh, wait, sorry, forgot about the cuts to the school technology … I could go on and on about facilities maintenance, TABOR, Gallegher, blah, blah, blah, but I’m boring you already.
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Look, I grew up in a school district with 30 kids in a class. I understand the whole argument that “this state spends less and has higher scores.” It’s all irrelevant. Teachers can’t treat our kids like they treated a class full of unruly 7-year-olds in the early ’70s – and if they could, would you want your kids to go back to Mrs. Meanie and the naughty corner? Does North Dakota spend less per pupil on education than Colorado? Yes, they do, but then again their cost of living is 25 percent less than ours so their teachers can afford to live on lower salaries. So please vote yes on 3E. Help our communities and help our schools.
Support our children – even if you don’t have any. After all, my children are eventually going to be the ones supporting you. And without an education … well, that’s scarier than extra property taxes.