PI Editorial: School board candidates should put kids before politics
It seems like everyone and their dog seemingly can’t avoid making political points these days. Education has never been an apolitical realm, but that doesn’t mean politics should be the greatest consideration in how our school boards approach their jobs.
That’s advice we’d give to all of our school board candidates this year. The good news is out of eight seats up for grabs between Roaring Fork, Garfield Re-2 and Garfield 16 school districts, just one seat is uncontested. We appreciate those who are willing to put themselves out there and work for the best outcomes for our students and community. It’s not easy to open oneself up to the scrutiny and deliberations of the voters, and that itself is praiseworthy.
As our school board candidates dive into building more connections with voters of all walks of life, we’d encourage them to always center their considerations on the students. After all, there are plenty of challenges facing our schools, both pandemic and otherwise.
One suggestion we’d offer is avoiding the trap of thinking money will solve any and all challenges. In Roaring Fork School District, voters will say yes or no to a proposed mill levy override on November’s ballot that could add up to $7.7 million in funding for employees.
Whether or not that is passed, however, Roaring Fork — as well as Re-2 and Garfield 16 — should consider other measures that could potentially make it easier to attract and retain quality employees. In other words, seek creative solutions to the problem, not just more taxpayer funding.
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Problem-solving through more taxes is not at all exclusive to education, but it’s easy to think of it as the be-all end-all for solutions. But policies that increase quality of both life and work for everyone from the cafeteria worker to the social studies teacher can and should receive consideration from our school board members.
So, whether or not voters in Roaring Fork School District approve the mill levy override, we’d encourage our school boards throughout the county to keep in mind money is neither a saving grace or the root of all evil. Instead, it’s a policy tool — one of many they should consider when helping our districts provide the best education possible.
The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Annie Bell and Amy Connerton.
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