Why no on 60, 61 and 101 makes sense | AspenTimes.com

Why no on 60, 61 and 101 makes sense

Dear Editor:

I’m writing today to urge readers to vote NO on amendments 60, 61 and 101. If these amendments pass it will literally be the end of public school as we know it. This is not an exaggeration. Just this afternoon the Roaring Fork Community Education Association representative for my school said, “If those amendments pass, we will be out of a job come January. Schools in the Roaring Fork Valley will have to close their doors.”

Amendment 60 would cut property taxes. That might sound great at first, but we must consider the cost of that reduction. It would mean a loss of $17.4 million to the Roaring Fork School District (RFSD). The amendment requires the state to “backfill” that money. It’s no secret that the state of Colorado doesn’t have an abundance of funds for that purpose. In order to backfill that money to schools, Colorado would have to cut 99 percent of the funds allocated to other state-run programs, like police/fire departments, road maintenance, libraries and prisons. Imagine that the prison budget isn’t available, and prisons get closed down all over the state. What happens to all the criminals in the prisons? Imagine there’s a fire in your house and there’s no fire department to call for help. Imagine a Colorado blizzard and no plows on the roads.

Amendment 61 refers to school districts being able to borrow money. Under the current system, the school’s operating budget runs out about January, and the new year’s revenues don’t come in until July. Presently, school districts use interest-free loans from the state to bridge the gap. I can’t see the harm in an INTEREST-FREE loan. However, I heard a proponent of Amendment 61 on the radio say that she wants to “end the culture of borrowing” and that “by borrowing money we are setting a poor example for the children in school.” Do you really think school children are privy to the inner workings of the RFSD’s budget and the “culture of borrowing?!” Students are lucky if they can remember to wear their tennis shoes on the day that they have P.E.! I’m a teacher, and the only reason I know about it is that I have made it a point to become educated about these issues. I can assure you that the students are blissfully unaware of the “culture of borrowing” in the RFSD.

Proposition 101 refers to ownership taxes. Currently the RFSD receives more than $1.5 million from these taxes. Passage of this proposition would reduce this amount by 98 percent. To put that in terms that an average person can understand, that reduction would equate to the loss of 30 teachers in RFSD. Proponents of this measure would argue that reducing taxes will boost the economy, but we know that the loss of more jobs in our community will NOT BOOST the economy. To boost the economy we need to add jobs, not lose them.

For more information about these amendments go to http://rfcea.weebly.com/no-on-6061101.html.

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Maureen Hinkle

music teacher, Basalt Elementary School