Guest Opinion: Prop 103: Small cost for an excellent education |

Guest Opinion: Prop 103: Small cost for an excellent education

Wayne Lemley
Special to The Aspen Times

Colorado families should consider the important benefits of Proposition 103, a very small tax increase to raise funds for our school districts. An excellent education is one of the most important things we can give our kids. The cost of Proposition 103 is very small, only a few cents a day per family. Colorado schools desperately need funds to replace budget cuts over the last three years.

An important additional benefit of having great schools in our state is increased real estate values. Homes and real estate are in higher demand and always more valuable in good school districts. People want to live and raise their families near good schools. The very small cost of Proposition 103 will easily pay for itself in the increased value of our homes!

Why is an excellent education so important for our kids? Students with good college degrees can easily find great employment, even in these times of very high unemployment. Students with good reading, math and communication skills are greatly needed in our country, and are hired readily.

On the other hand, kids who drop out of school face 20 percent or higher unemployment rates. America’s youth are now tied for ninth in the world in college attainment.

What greater gift can we give our kids than the very best communication and analytical skills? We need the very best reading and math teaching here in Colorado. Think what wonderful lives our kids will have when they have the greatest communication and math skills. Our kids can become the greatest artists, musicians, engineers, builders, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers or managers. Don’t we want our kids to have great lives? Social lives? Have wonderful homes and families? The key is to be smart, well-educated, good communicators! Let’s give them the very best education possible.

Our public schools desperately need funds. Colorado school districts have endured big budget cuts for each of the last three years. There are often only a few gifted and talented teachers in school districts!

Education technology in many districts is becoming out of date, while teacher salaries are not high enough to attract the very best new teachers to our area. Special education teachers, who help kids with poor reading and math skills, have often been studied for cutbacks. Our principals need more staff to manage the schools, so they can focus on being strong instructional leaders.

The $3 billion raised by Proposition 103 would be a great help to our school districts. The cost of Proposition 103 would be less than 50 cents per day for a typical family. In my own case, 50 cents a day is less than what I spend on snacks, coffee and junk food! Proposition 103 is a tiny cost to help give our kids an excellent education, and improve the value of our homes.

Steamboat Springs resident Wayne Lemley is a parent of two students in Colorado public elementary schools. He has a Ph.D. in graduate education from Brown University, and has written a number of articles on raising capable children. Lemley can be reached at

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