My Side |

My Side

Kim Goossens

I have a passion for public education because I believe in what the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, thought was the key to the success of our nation – public education for all! Everyone would have the same opportunities to learn and become educated, therefore upgrading the mentality of America, which would ultimately open a world of opportunities for all and ensure the cycle would continue.

Patrons of the Garfield School District Re-2, serving Rifle, Silt and New Castle, will have the opportunity in November to vote on the proposed mill levy override ballot issue #3B. For approximately 9 cents per day, $34 per year (most recent figures from the county assessor’s office, figured on a home with a $100,000 assessed value), voters will have the chance to provide the resources necessary to take our student opportunities for success from “good” to “great.”

Passage of the mill levy override will ensure that students in Garfield Re-2 have every opportunity for a first-class education, which every child deserves! The district will use the additional funds raised through this mill levy override election for a variety of improvements throughout the district. Here is a brief glance of what an additional 9 cents per day will accomplish.

Monies from the mill levy would allow Garfield Re-2 to compensate all of our staff competitively and comparatively. We do not want to turn into a training ground for our neighboring districts, who currently have a mill levy in place and can pay the average pay. We must stay competitive to keep our great teachers and staff here.

Additional mills would provide the monies necessary to staff Coal Ridge High School, scheduled to open in the fall of 2005. This was approved by voters in the passage of the bond election in 2001. We are doing what the taxpayers told us and hoping for the understanding that the bond monies, by law, cannot be used for salaries and programs.

School safety is a priority to everyone I talk with, and with these monies, we can provide school resource officers for Rifle High School, Coal Ridge High School, Rifle Middle School and Riverside Middle School. This would help ensure a safe and orderly environment that all students need to succeed.

School readiness would be enhanced by adding a full-day, every-day kindergarten option for the youngest of our students, providing them with a “leg up” on preparation for future success. Before- and after-school programs (not day care) would also be added to assist those students who need additional learning opportunities or wish to have enrichment programs not available in the regular school day.

Because Re-2 is a growing school district, the mill levy override monies would also be used to give a one-time boost to the transportation department to purchase additional buses to keep our fleet current, as well as replacing the 15-passenger vans now deemed unsafe for our students.

In educating today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs, it is also essential that the district stay current with technology. Any new school, of course, is built with the most current state-of-the-art technology for students and staff. Passage of the mill levy would allow all schools to incorporate similar technology into their sites, so all of our students will have the same opportunity while using technology as do other students around the world.

I am so proud of the accomplishments of this school district and believe that with your support we can continue with our forward momentum from being a “good” school district to being a “great” school district. It’s all about our kids’ future. … What do you think? I think that somewhere along all of our educational processes, there were similar situations that passed because of the belief of President Thomas Jefferson that the key to success for our nation is public education for all!

Thank you for your time and interest in the future of our students; I would now ask for your support and a “yes” vote on 3B.

Kim Goossens is a member of the Garfield Re-2 school board.

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