State: All Colorado schools deserve our support | AspenTimes.com

State: All Colorado schools deserve our support

All Colorado schools deserve our support

While it's perfectly understandable that Republicans would oppose almost every tax ever proposed, it's just not right to make up facts in support of an alternative universe.

A recent Republican letter to the editor erroneously claims that a "yes" vote on Amendment 66 for statewide school funding would hurt Aspen. The author claims: "It (Amendment 66) would penalize the Aspen School District and other Colorado school districts by eliminating the cost of living factor from the school base funding formula, with a disproportionate share of state funding allocated to urban school districts."

The simple and undisputed fact is that the state of Colorado eliminated the cost-of-living allowances for districts like Aspen in the last session of the General Assembly. In a desperate effort to "prioritize" inadequate funds for education, the high-end districts took a definite hit.

Voting "no" on Amendment 66 does not restore cost-of-living funds for Aspen. Voting "yes" means enough state funding to help hard-pressed districts, a small increase for Aspen now and the possibility of restoring Aspen's cost of living in the future.

Perversely, the defeat of Amendment 66 means the state will be looking at growing scarcity of funding for education and Aspen's chances of restoring cost of living support will be much less.

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Does anyone really believe that the General Assembly will allocate more money to Aspen, Cherry Creek and the other best funded districts while more and more districts, like Rifle, go to a four-day school week and cut more sports and after-school programs?

I, for one, could not support that result.

The fact is that Aspen bears a pretty small tax burden of 9 mills (less than .1 percent of fair-market value). A $1 million house pays about $900 a year for school property taxes.

That small tax burden on about $25 billion in property results in one of the best school systems in the state and nation. Ex Ed, skiing, band, theater, soccer, lacrosse, individual attention, over-qualified (but under-paid) teachers. Just down the road, school districts are struggling with core program cuts and four-day weeks while paying two or three or four times higher rates of taxation.

We have a wonderful life, and whatever our schools and kids need, they have generally gotten it. We are in a position to bring other schools up toward our high standard. Let's share our blessings with the rest of the kids across the state, children whose education will, for better or worse, have much to say about how our own kids live in the future.

Please vote "yes" on Amendment 66 by returning your mail-in ballot today.

Thank you.

Mick Ireland

Aspen