Vote yes on 3E, for the sake of academics | AspenTimes.com

Vote yes on 3E, for the sake of academics

Dear Editor:

Roaring Fork Valley citizens have ample reasons to be proud of our public schools. According to data from the 2011 Colorado Growth Model, Roaring Fork School District has the highest student growth percentile scores in reading, writing and math in the Mountain Region, an area comprised of 10 surrounding districts and 87 schools. Student academic growth is improving more here than anywhere else regionally. This success is due to relentless efforts by families, teachers, administration and a community that consistently rallies around our kids.

As principal of Basalt Middle School, I am proud of our school community. Basalt Middle School registered the highest writing growth scores, second-highest math growth scores, and the fourth-highest reading growth scores in the Mountain Region. In 2010, the Colorado Department of Education awarded BMS with the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award. This recognition was not a flash in the pan, as BMS was on the state’s 2009 list of high-performing schools.

We also take pride in our arts, technology, physical education and experiential learning programs. Our music program has blossomed to the degree that our band no longer fits on the stage. Student involvement has never been higher.

However, the state budget crisis continues to take its toll. Last year, the state cut $260 million out of K-12 funding, bringing RFSD’s net reduction to $5.1 million. RFSD has cut 15 teachers, 16 custodians, 41 coaches, reduced salaries and taken several others’ measures to tighten our belt. A K-12 cut of up to $400 million looms on the horizon in 2012. Without support locally, this reduction will devastate our school, wiping out award-winning programs. The “tightening our belt” metaphor will no longer be apt; “amputation” will be the accurate description.

However, there is a local solution. A mill levy override will restore a desperately needed $4.8 million. Over the nine years I’ve been a teacher or an administrator in our valley, I’ve received amazing community support. This is the time when we need you most. Please support our schools and our children.

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Vote yes on 3E.

Jeremy Voss

principal, Basalt Middle School

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