Email Letter: August 8, 2017

Low support for schools and safety hurts community in many ways

The county is facing requests for increased funding for public safety and public education. Sunday’s headline: “Vision of region as a technology hub stalled without big local buy-in.” In June, a Dutch entrepreneur attending a CMU economic conference told a New Yorker magazine reporter that he’d been thinking about opening a production center in Grand Junction but he’s concerned that the local culture might be too inward-looking – “whether they want to open to the world.” He spoke about crime and insufficient public safety funding. Last week, a letter writer noted that new air service to Los Angeles means that cartels can now fly drugs directly into Grand Junction.

“If you keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” It’s undeniable that some of the things “you’ve always got” in the valley are positive; but other things we’ve “got” are negative. High rates of substance use disorders, crime, suicide, and low rates of graduation from high school and post-high school training or education impact families every day.

You don’t always need new buildings for a good education, or superintendents with unjustifiable compensation. But low community support for schools and safety hurts many ways. If you want kids to know they are worth investing in, then actions speak louder than words. Quality education prepares young people for success in the changing economy. If you want to attract young families and relocating or starting businesses and the jobs and tax revenue they bring, you must invest in schools and public safety.

Quality education and public safety cost money. Not having quality education and public safety costs a lot more. Change will happen. You can react to it and fight it and get the same bad outcomes or plan for and invest in it to our community’s advantage.



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