We have analyzed facts, uncovered misunderstandings and developed more than our share of opinions as we discuss the proposed Roaring Fork mill levy. Suffice it to say, we know where to find information, so I would like to share my personal perspective.
It has been my privilege to serve our kids, families and community for many years. I have served on the school board, co-founded an alternative program, worked for regional initiatives, completed a master’s degree and principal license, worked in teacher education, and currently teach and participate as a parent in the Roaring Fork system.
Within the complexity of our changing world, unfunded national and state mandates, personal differences in our visions, and a variety of limited view points, our kids show up each day to design futures, prepare for a world they can’t fathom, and trust us to give them what they need.
Each day, I wish I had more technology and fewer kids per class resulting in more time with every student. Each day, I wish I could encourage kids who have an aptitude for health care or mechanics to enroll at the Career Center, but it has been closed due to funding cuts. Each day, I hope I can continue to take our eighth-graders to tour the vibrant high school arts programs.
Each day, I wish the community could see what I have the privilege to see. Because I also see hope and inspiration. I see an incredibly committed and brilliant staff of servants who are mission driven and kid focused. I see hard work, thrifty management, and innovation. I see achievement, focus and a fierce dedication to our collective future.
That is why I will continue to support our public schools. I will remain active as we implement ways to invigorate our most valuable and integrated public system. I will continue to “kick in” $10 a month. I will invest in our community and in each kid.
Most people recognize that you cannot simultaneously starve a system while expecting it to grow stronger. Thanks to all who are voting yes on 3E. The alternative is too dismal to imagine.
Please vote yes on 3C to support our local educators. If you haven’t filled out your ballot yet, and it is slowly disappearing under a pile of junk mail and unwanted bills, please take a moment to pull it out and take a good hard look at it.
We ask so much of our educators, and right now they need our support. Our teachers are facing larger classroom sizes and greater demands on their already overburdened time. Our support staff is dealing with reduced budgets and limited resources. Our administration has been consistently diligent and rigorous in finding ways to deal with less and still provide the best possible education for every child.
There have been many tough decisions made already, but without your support right now, our choices are quickly going to get more difficult, and will be significantly more impactful on the quality of the education we can provide.
Unfortunately, the long term historical trend towards greater dependence on state funding for education is putting us in a tough spot right now.
But we are the locals. It’s our community and our district. They are our kids, our neighbors and our friends. Let’s not risk losing any of what we have in place.
We have an organization that is populated throughout with dedicated, hard working, quality people. Lets show our support for all of them. Please vote yes on 3C.
Scott Doherty, vice president
Garfield Re-2 Board of Education
We are officers on the Roaring Fork Community Education Association. It is the association that represents teachers in the Roaring Fork School District.
Our members belong because they care about education and about students. We are members of this community, have children in the schools, and understand the importance of strong schools in the development of children.
We know that without strong public education, our communities and businesses will falter.
We know that everything has been done to minimize the impact that budget cuts thus far have had on our students’ achievement. We also know there is little left to give in the budget without affecting kids. Without the passage of 3E, we are staring at large class sizes, cuts in programs, and possibly even school closings in the eye.
We urge a yes vote on 3E today. Do it for your community, your children, your employees.
Roaring Fork Community Education Association
“We don’t have any children in school and I’m looking forward to the reduced taxes,” is what I hear from people, when I ask them about their stand on the mill levy 3E override.
But consider the alternatives: overcrowded classrooms, fewer electives and college prep classes, less classroom time due to increased teacher furlough days, dirty classrooms because of reduced maintenance budgets.
Will the tax savings now come back to haunt us by way of increased taxes for detention centers, law enforcement officials and unemployment rates?
Remember, these children are the people who will be taking care of us in our old age. In these unstable times we need to support our most precious resources, the children of our community, by ensuring a quality education.
I support 3E because our young citizens deserve the same educational opportunities that I had.
Once a tax or fee is put in place, it either continues to go up and or is never eliminated. Once the state, county or any other entity manages to get an increase passed, they continue to spend without thoughts of retracting the same. Somehow the schools just keep being needy no matter how much is gained.
If the tax base goes down, the panic is we have already spent projected monies, so therefore we need to keep tax bases up or ask for more. The Bruce amendment (TABOR) was voted in by Colorado citizens and it was meant to put the brakes on out-of-control spending.
Now we need an override? These overrides never completely satisfy the money thirst. The previous governor had a surplus when he was voted into office. Ritter spent money that was already to be used in a new fiscal year. He had to ask the Colorado Legislature for additional funds to pay the bills. He was allowed by the state Legislature to do that. I don’t think they counted on millions of dollars in overrun.
I am not putting the blame on them. I just think that none of them realized how far in debt Colorado was and that the recession hit us extremely hard. The TARP money went to the Eastern Slope. Ritter made no bones about that. He told the Western Slope if we wanted anything fixed that we had to fend for ourselves. Well, without more jobs on this side of the mountain, that’s a pretty tough assignment. Think before you vote.
Regarding Jack Blankenship’s letter of Oct. 24, “Occupy protesters showing their envy,” no one in our local group is “trespassing on public and private property.” If we were, we would have been disbanded by the police.
Mr. Blankenship states: “Proper use [of brains and brawn] coupled with a willingness to work hard will work wonders for these angry people.” Most everyone attending the protests are older citizens who have spent a lifetime working.
Mr. Blankenship tosses around words like “greed,” “envy,” “entitled,” and “liberal” with apparent personal knowledge of the protesters. I suggest that Mr. Blankenship is being presumptuous.
I will grant that there is evidence that elements within the One World Order cabal are trying to co-opt the ‘Occupy’ movement; indeed may have initiated it. We do need to be on our guard. Capitalism is not the problem, predatory capitalism is.
No two people think exactly alike. We are all individuals who have different life experiences and ways of seeing things. What we specifically protest for or against is not always the same.
But there is something that brings us together and that is a knowledge that something is terribly wrong with the way our country is being run. This particular protest is focused primarily on economics, simply because that is the engine that drives everything else.
Now I will toss out a few words: credit-based money, usury, fractional reserve banking, the un-constitutional Federal Reserve System (which lends money to the government, i.e.. taxpayers, at interest), and the unconstitutional tax on our labor. It’s a “Web of Debt” (title of a book by Ellen Brown) that has been foisted upon the people for centuries, if not millennia.
The sign that I carry has this written on one side: “Google Money Masters Video, SecretofOz.com, America: Freedom to Fascism.”
Learning is growing.
We will be sign-waving every Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at Centennial Park in Glenwood Springs until further notice.
I am running for Colorado Mountain Board of Trustees, and would appreciate your vote.
Here is why I am running. Having taught both at Drake Law School, as an adjunct professor, and community college law courses, I believe deeply in all types of education, be it degree-seeking, vocational training, or personal enrichment.
Degree programs at CMC are an amazing resource for specific programs, but degree classes should not take precedence over other desirable community classes and offerings. Colorado statutes provide tax dollars to CMC for work training, job skills, and life skills such as computer basics or ESL, as well as degree programs.
In times where tuition has been raised substantially, department budgets have been cut, and employees have been denied raises, all expenditures should be classroom focused.
My hope is to commit my skills of organization and advocacy to Colorado Mountain College, and to look at policies and budgets with common sense and thrift.
I listen to people’s concerns and believe that CMC policies should reflect the community’s wishes. I am high-energy and approach problems with a “can do” attitude coupled with a firm grasp of the facts and law. I am an attorney, and an active volunteer on local boards and organizations.
Our elected government has become completely controlled by campaign contributions given by large corporations and rich individuals. In campaigns for Congress you can predict the winner, Democrat or Republican, 94 percent of the time by knowing who has the most money in their campaign coffers.
The power of money in this plutocracy continues after elections with the unmitigated influence of lobbyists who actually outnumber elected officials in Washington. The circle becomes complete when outgoing congressmen and women, and otherwise well-connected people, become lobbyists.
A case in point was Hillary Clinton’s ex campaign manager who was the subject of an email regarding the XL Pipeline, wherein his influence on the secretary of state was noted dismissing any actual knowledge the man had about the ill-advised pipeline itself.
Instead of trying to fit in without making those unseemly waves, our president could be doing more. But he may be waiting for people to open their eyes after seeing their investment and retirement money disappear – disappear into the pockets of schemers in the gambling sector of our sacred capitalist system.
He may be waiting for support from the rag-tag malcontents who have been given unrepayable student and home loans, and otherwise had their pockets picked – waiting for support from the jobless.
The “occupiers” have given all this some thought and though, as in the allegory of the blind touching an elephant trying to imagine its shape, they may not have put it all together yet, they are certainly closer than the quaint Tea Party. Perhaps the TP felt the elephant’s tail and gave up trying, and thus declaring things like “keep government out of my Medicaid.”
We’re all learning.
There is something terribly amiss in our capitalist-democratic-republic. This “occupy” movement fulfills a civic duty to hold Wall Street and government accountable.
I stand with the 99 percent. Either you see on the streets and in the parks those begging attention to inequality, favoritism and government malfeasance, and affecting change, or the lid will blow off.
As my favorite sign at Zuccotti Park said, “This is a sign.” Those in agreement, or with their own ideas, could join the group from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays at Centennial Park.
Many things have led to our stagnant economy and the fact that some 14 million Americans are unemployed. Workforce globalization and increasing automation of production are obvious candidates for some blame.
However, corporations and financial institutions use the media that they control to hide or deflect a complete picture. The unholy alliance of Wall Street, K Street and much of Congress steadfastly avoids any mention of the elephant in our living room. They conveniently ignore the wealth gap detailed by Hal Sundin in his Oct. 20 column.
Consequences of wealth concentration cannot be explained in the 350 words allowed for letters to the editor, but it is possible for readers to find books and dozens of non-corporate media articles about this. That takes some effort, and those in the halls of power are betting that most of us won’t bother.
Please note that I am not implying that all rich people are bad. I am, however, asserting that a system that concentrates wealth into the hands of a small number of power players is not good.
Money that at one time was distributed among millions of workers is being transferred to the vaults of a financial structure that, for the most part, uses it to get even more money, investing off shore, outsourcing, buying political access, etc. Very little goes to create jobs here.
Consider a poker game in which chips get concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The other players (mostly workers) can stay in the game only by borrowing, and when their credit runs out, they have to leave the table. They can’t afford to buy the very products they make, demand is reduced, production slows and people lose jobs.
Then, when they learn that the game is rigged, they get angry. They don’t like deregulation, corporate personhood, tax loopholes and other devices that have tilted the playing field in favor of moneyed interests. They begin by occupying Wall Street, protesting the wealth-gap elephant and the system that feeds him.
Pachyderms and their political partners need to pay attention.
This topic is easier to understand than people realize. When you truly believe in God, there is no question about how the world was created.
After reading the Oct. 26 My Side column piece by Aron Diaz, “Lack of support for funding schools is disappointing,” and then reading in the exact same Post Independent newspaper in the legals section eight full pages of home foreclosures taking place right now in Garfield County, two words came to mind: “paradox” and “surreal.”
Mr. Diaz’s op-ed piece is a seemingly true grouping of statements. But when the realities of a $3 million per year increase in property taxes is placed upon the shoulders of homeowners who are in foreclosure or are among the 16 percent unemployed or the 30 percent of the west Garfield County homes that are underwater; Mr. Diaz’s thesis leads to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition and is marked by the irrational reality of a dream as to be unbelievable and fantastic.
In 2011, $870,000 in taxpayer cash was paid to Re-2 employees in bonuses and furlough days. In 2012, Re-2 is proposing to increase employee salaries and benefits by 2.5 percent, costing $736,000, and also to contribute $300,000 in cash from school funds to the city of Rifle for a future baseball diamond.
Currently Re-2 has $12 million in cash reserves. If Mr. Diaz wants to dish out $736,000 in raises, salaries and benefits and transfer $300,000 to the city of Rifle, Mr. Diaz can take it out of the $12 million in cash reserves and leave the overburdened taxpayer alone.
Carl Mc Williams
We have a problem here. Since, 2009 the Roaring Fork School District has lost $5.1 million in funding and the state has announced more cuts for next year. To accommodate, the district made major cuts including teachers, textbooks, athletic programs and bus routes. What’s next?
By passing a mill levy override (3E) we can recover $4.8 million of the $5.1 million funding cut from the last few years. Consequences of further cuts will be much greater than the cost.
Let me put it this way. I was struck by something at school this fall. Our parent organization was selling 50-cent popsicles for pencils and a hand-written sign was put up that read “Needed: Pencils, Hand Sanitizer, Tissues.”
Bake sales yield on average $500. Without a mill levy override, our district will have to sell 2.4 million 50-cent popsicles and hold 7,200 bake sales to raise the same amount of money requested in the mill levy override.
If that doesn’t mean much, try this. Those who answer yes to any of the following questions should vote yes on 3E:
Do you support economic vitality and want to live in a place where shops and restaurants are busy and soccer fields and gyms are full?
Do you want property values to stop declining with people looking to buy homes in your neighborhood?
Do you want property taxes to go down? (Even with the mill levy override, we will be paying less than we did last year.)
Do you support future job creation and want to prevent future job loss in our valley?
Do you support a spirit of continuous improvement in business, school systems and government?
Do you believe in the value of quality education?
Like me, your ballot may still be sitting on your counter. Exercise your right to vote. It is too late to mail in your ballot, so drop it off at your county Clerk and Recorder’s office before Tuesday, Nov. 1.
If you care about the future of this valley please vote yes on 3E.
As Colorado Mountain College makes its transition to offering a four-year degree, I think it is important that its traditional vocational, recreational and arts classes not be lost in its growth into a four-year college.
Many of us have taken classes there that have nothing to do with obtaining a degree, and those learning experiences should not be lost in an effort to create CU-lite. That is why I urge everyone to vote for Kathy Goudy for CMC trustee.
Kathy will make sure that our tax dollars are well spent, without losing the neighborhood appeal that CMC has for all of us. In addition to her legal background, she has taught as an adjunct law professor and in the community college setting.
Please make sure that your mail ballots are sent in time to be received by the county clerk’s office before Election Day, and vote for Kathy.
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