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Your Letters

Let me say that I am for kids and for teachers and certainly support an educational system that offers excellent learning for children. I do not see the mill levy to be about those issues. Those conversations are used to cloud more fundamental issues that are not addressed.

With that in mind, I will not in good conscience vote for the mill levy override proposed by the Re-1 administration.

For years there has been a lack of direct, honest and transparent communication between the district and the community. Recently there was a study of district communication – evidently it was either a public relations ploy to mention it, or it has been completed due to the fact that there is no communication to study.

The district administration sees itself as part of our community only when it wants something from us. Simply throwing money at a problem does not solve it. I need to see and hear exactly what would change in the school budget, precisely how this money would be spent.

Recently I saw two gigantic light standards being erected on the Glenwood High School football field. Honestly, I am interested in students reading, but I am unsure how that goal is met with these light standards.

I would like to see students have the option of vocational training, but those programs are cut. Misprioritizing has been historic Re-1 money management.

I sat in the room where three of five school board members agreed that listening to the constituency that elected them was not going to happen, and then they were forced to listen and proceeded to ignore all comments. That arrogant attitude has been at the base of both the school board agenda and the administration for too long.

Until there are elected and hired individuals who support constructive partnership with the community, want to actively engage community input and walk that talk, then I will not vote to have such “stewards” spend my tax money secretively and inappropriately.

It is important that those who spend tax dollars share priorities as well as specifics on spending, as throwing dollars at a problem certainly does not guarantee wise choices or solutions to problems.

Cheryl Cain

Glenwood Springs

Please vote yes on 3E. We listen when our doctor tells us we need an important test. We let our plumber unclog our clogged pipes. When we need legal help, we are apt to have a lawyer help us.

We rely on the teachers in our community to educate our children. Shouldn’t we listen to them when they tell us what is needed to make sure that our children’s education is at its best?

I am a professional teacher in the Roaring Fork School District. I love teaching our children and making a difference in this valley. I know what students need to be successful, and I know what my school needs to be an active, engaging learning place.

I have to be honest. With the direction that school funding has been heading in the last few years, our pipes are beginning to clog. Our class sizes are growing and our students have less of their teachers’ attention. Some of our talented teachers have left the district for schools and careers that can help them better meet their family’s financial needs.

I use a reading textbook that I had 11 years ago. A high school teacher I know has had to modify his labs because of increased class size. I am given time every day to plan for quality instruction, but I spend part of that time emptying trash and disinfecting desks because we no longer have enough custodial staff to do it.

We’ve reduced just about everything in our budget that we can without significantly impacting student learning.

Recently, the state announced that for 2012 an additional $300 million dollar cut looms on the horizon for K-12 education statewide. Without additional resources, we’re going to have to look at closing schools and eliminating quality programming, as well as cutting more teachers and staff.

If 3E doesn’t pass, my experience tells me that students’ learning will be impacted. On Nov. 1, please consider what the professionals say is needed to teach our kids. Vote for our kids and for our communities. Vote yes on 3E.

Megan Talbott

Glenwood Springs

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 comprising 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 and 41 coaches, reduced salaries, and taken several others measures to tighten its 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 voters most. Please support our schools and our children. Yes on 3E.

Jeremy Voss

Glenwood Springs

I am against property taxes per se, as they are a regressive tax not based upon a person’s ability to pay. I even wrote a research paper on it once, with some surprising conclusions. But that is a separate issue from the fact that our local schools are underfunded and teachers are underpaid, overworked and undersupported.

As a result, our kids are not getting the level of education and attention they need. We are faced today, thanks to the two parties’ decades-long misuse of our tax dollars, with property taxes as the only way we have available to help students get up to speed. Sad, but true.

To change how we fund education will not be easy, but we need to do so, and make it logical and fair. We need to stop being a nation of sheep, and stop letting our country be so badly mismanaged by the two – quite corrupt at the core – political parties that control how our money is spent.

For example, we do not need 2,435 new F-35 fighters for $1.03 trillion; more than 900 expensive military bases around the planet; almost nonstop wars; oil, coal or natural gas subsidies; millions of agonizing deaths from supporting tobacco for decades; or bank bailouts for greedheads who made billions of dollars of bad bets.

Across the pond there is the Finnish Miracle – Finland’s education system and No. 1 draw for tourism. How do they do it? Over there, teachers are respected on a par with doctors as being invaluable to the health of their country. They have parent accountability. They don’t have kindergarten, as parents are expected to have their children ready for first grade. Kids leave their shoes at the door and pad around in socks and slippers. They have music and a second language from first through seventh grade. Teachers are supported, paid good salaries, and ensured small class sizes. A quote I liked the most about it is, “If you take care of the teachers, they will take care of your children.”

Please vote yes on Re-1 ballot issue 3E.

Michael Gibson

Glenwood Springs

Yesterday I received my 2011 election ballot. This year’s ballot deals with our education system.

As a former educator for five years, this is a responsibility I take seriously.

The name that jumped out at me was that of Myles Rovig. He has served on the Re-1 board for the last four years. With his previous experience in education and business, it was with pleasure that I cast my vote for him. I urge other eligible voters to vote for Myles as well.

Dennis Bader

Glenwood Springs

Colorado Mountain College needs trustees with energy, brains and vision. As a taxpayer-subsidized institution, trustees must be accessible, listen to the community’s comments and understand the fiscal accountability to the taxpayers.

Kathy Goudy, an attorney from Carbondale, should be our next trustee. Please vote for her.

It’s important for CMC and its curriculum to serve the constantly evolving civic, social, religious and vocational needs of our mountain region. By its actions, the board must emphasize a commitment to the community, faculty, staff and students and to the academic opportunities they deserve and desire.

The overall budget must aim to support the classroom, and rigorous financial oversight is crucial as CMC faces the challenges of operating and expansion costs. CMC’s statutory mandate is to provide all citizens access to a varied range of academic, vocational, life skills and enrichment courses.

Kathy Goudy is a community volunteer and is more than able to handle this crucial moment for locals to help guide and support CMC. Even as the school enters a new era of expansion into a four-year institution of higher learning and construction, CMC must, like all of us, deal with uncertain economic times.

CMC faces these challenges along with a budget-stressed community. In these economic times, CMC becomes all the more crucial as an academically rigorous yet financially achievable option to many universities and their soaring tuitions.

We are entitled to get the most bang for our tax dollars, and Kathy Goudy is the person to do it for us.

Theresa Dwyer


Regarding the proposed TABOR override for District 16 schools, I do not think this proposal is viable.

For instance, there has been a drop of 141 students since 2008 in the district. The school board states that it needs an additional $1.2 million per year. It would seem that if there are fewer students, there should be a lowering of taxes, not an increase.

Regarding the full-day kindergarten proposal, they are asking for $583,103 per year based on the 79 students who are now enrolled. This means that the district will be spending $7,300 per student per year, which is outrageous. The parents now pay the tuition, and I doubt very much that they pay close to this amount. The board has given no reason why kindergarten should now be free instead of the responsibility of the parents.

Please vote no on ballot issue 3D. I think taxes are much like diamonds, in that they are forever.

Garry Evenson

Battlement Mesa

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