Email Letters: September 14, 2017
By becoming a sell-out, Hillary Clinton lost the power to lead
What Really Happened? Hillary continually deludes herself that she is viable, despite the fact that she lives in a bubble between her truly noble ideals and the reality of getting lip service from funders. She hasn’t detected any conflict of interests… ever.
She’s not really her own person, nor has she ever been. That’s what happened. Anyone who “sells out,” loses the power to lead, be they man or woman.
3A and 3B won’t solve the problem of inadequately educated students
How interesting to read in the Sept. 13 Sentinel that the bond measure and mill levy override desired by District 51 would grow the economy and employment. Who knew we could simply tax ourselves into prosperity? Now, you have to ask yourselves why the county and city leaders did not exact large taxes on the populace during the previous seven-plus years when our economy was so depressed, if taxing the public results in such an economic boom.
The fact is taxing the public does not result in growing the economy. When money is taken in the form of taxes from people, often from those who can least afford it, the alternative use of this money is removed from the economy. The economy does not grow.
The most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher. Successful schools wisely invest in their teachers and in the effectiveness of their teachers. New buildings, layers of administration, and computers will not raise the academic performance of students.
At the end of the day student achievement is the only measure by which a school district is judged. Tax measures 3A and 3B will do nothing to solve the problem of an inadequately educated student population.
What caused the major storms before climate change?
In response to all of the letters and columns written to ascribe blame for the recent storms on global warming/climate change, I only have one question. What caused the major storms before climate change?
According to CSU meteorologist Philip Klotzbach, in the last 131 years there have been 24 major hurricanes in the U.S. Of those, only six have occurred in the last 30 years. The strongest, the Labor Day Storm, hit in 1935. The other 18 date from 1886 to 1969.
It’s easy to look for reasons and place blame, but in my opinion, to do it without actual proof is somewhat delusional, and unproductive. You don’t have to be a climate-denier to question the conclusions of so many, based on so little actual causative data.
Vote yes on 3A and 3B for School District 51 to move forward
Growing up in the Grand Valley, I always thought I was getting a great education. My teachers were passionate about the subjects they taught and they pushed myself and my peers to challenge ourselves in our educational pursuits. But as I’ve traveled the state and the country for extracurricular activities, I’ve come to learn I’ve been missing out on a lot.
I go to school 165 days a year. The average American student goes 180. By the time I graduate in the spring, I’ll have missed out on more than a year of education compared to the kids I’ll be competing with for jobs, internships, and college.
As a student, I see the change that needs to be made in facilities, resources, and learning environment. Our district isn’t asking for much, just the basic needs that they lost during the budget cuts of the recession. These needs should be the right of every American student. We haven’t invested in public education since I’ve been in kindergarten. Years from now, we will look back on this vote as a transformative time for Mesa County, regardless of whether or not this passes.
As local citizens, we have the chance to decide whether or not we want to alter the regressive trend Mesa County has been going towards. In measures 3A and 3B we have the power to make the right decision for School District 51 to move forward. This isn’t just a measure for money; this is a measure to change the lives of 22,000 kids.
I’ll have graduated by the time these measures go into effect but I know how important they are to my younger peers. I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure the kids in this community get the same chances afforded to every other American student. Vote YES on 3A and 3B this November.
Local students need your support on ballot measures 3A and 3B
Every morning the students at Fruita Middle School say the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms. On the last day of school every year, it is our tradition for the 600-plus students and staff to gather in our 1938 school gym to recite the Pledge in unison. I leave the gym inspired after observing the respect our future community leaders have for our country. Looking around our school, and in our gym in particular, I often think of how teachers in our school were educating students as World War II was being fought by other great Americans preserving our freedoms around the globe. I think those who fought for our country would be proud of our students and glad to know that the freedoms of those students are being upheld in classrooms across our community.
I will be voting to support both the mill and the bond because I believe in our country and the freedoms we stand for. Students will be the ones to carry the torch of freedom and those students need to be well educated to carry the torch properly. Our teachers are doing a great job, and our facility managers have done well keeping our buildings in as good of shape as possible, and yet our building is in desperate need of repairs and our teachers need more school days to do our jobs properly. I also believe our community needs to have schools we are proud of. All of us have the privilege and duty to ensure our students have the right facilities in which to learn, and our great kids just need your help. The list of what we (and other schools) need is outlined at http://www.CitizensForSD51.com.
Please vote yes with me, and vote for the children who would vote yes, but can’t yet, and are simply counting on you to pay it forward.
Principal, Fruita Middle School
Ask elected representatives to support legislation to impose a fee on carbon
We have had three major natural disasters recently, which have all been made much more severe due to global warming. My heart goes out to the millions of people who have lost so much due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the wildfires in the West, particularly in Montana. Unfortunately, the warming oceans and the drought and beetle kill in the West have increased the intensity of these hurricanes and wildfires. Our government will spend much a lot of and many resources dealing with these natural disasters and their aftermath.
We would be better served by focusing our resources on preventing future disasters of this magnitude rather than having to pay the extraordinary costs of cleaning up after the devastation.
The time has come for us to start implementing solutions to climate change. One of the solutions with great potential for success is to place a fee on carbon. A fee on carbon is one of the quickest ways we can reduce carbon in our atmosphere and address global warming head on. I encourage you to ask our Sens. Michael Bennett and Cory Gardner, and Rep. Scott Tipton to support legislation to impose a fee on carbon. For more information on the carbon fee and dividend proposal, visit CitizensClimateLobby.org. We need to act now.
Due to legislative maneuvering, our taxes for schools not spent as they should be
My family moved to Grand Junction in 2002. In our 15-year history here, we built a home, found jobs, and our children graduated from high school in 2005 and 2007. We planted roots that have taken firm hold.
I submit we all see the need to educate our young. Children truly are the future. With proper guidance and a solid foundation in learning, they can be on the road to realizing their life’s potential.
However, I am puzzled about the costs of doing so, and wonder why our taxes are not truly being spent as they should. For example, I calculated the property taxes on our home from 2002-2016. In those 15 years, we have paid $32,363.32 for the School General Fund and another $7,430.73 for the District 51 Bond – a total of nearly $40,000 just for the school district. Additionally, property taxes do not reflect the possible hundreds of dollars of fees parents pay out-of-pocket for children to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Colorado ranks in the bottom quarter of school funding in the United States, primarily because of the Negative Factor, legislation enacted to reduce each Colorado school district’s funding in order to move those monies to other parts of the state budget. The amount last year? More than $850 million – $850 million taken from school districts across our state to balance and supplement other agencies.
Every district in Colorado has felt the pain of this financial legislative maneuvering, some more than others. Here in District 51, our schools should receive nearly $8,200 per student rather than approximately $7,300 – a difference of $900 per student! I’ll ballpark a figure of some 22,000 students in District 51, and if not for the Negative Factor, the district would realize an added near-$20 million this calendar year.
Remember, these are our tax dollars that were originally funded for our children and are annually manipulated by the legislature to balance the budget. To further insult the intelligence of the voter, the legislature, in an attempt to dispel the pejorative nature of the words “Negative Factor,” changed the name via statute earlier this year to the “Budget Stabilization Factor.”
Call it what you will. It remains a shortfall for school funding which now necessitates we pony up more tax dollars to ensure our children succeed. Voters will consider their consciences and their bank accounts for this bond issue. The necessity of this issue, however, would be moot if the $5.9 billion dollars withheld from the schools since the inception of the creative interpretation of Amendment 23 had never been permitted.
Growth is good but not to the detriment of our history
What’s in a name? Sometimes it’s history, like the name North Avenue in Grand Junction. According to the Visitor & Convention Bureau’s website, Grand Junction became a U.S. city in September 1881 when the Ute Indians were pushed out and the territory was taken from Spain. When George Crawford decided this peaceful little valley would be a perfect place to settle, Denver already had 50,000 residents. Colorado was becoming a populous state and was ready to make an impact.
In a story reported by KOOL FM, the original plat for Grand Junction cited “North Avenue” as the northernmost boundary and “South Avenue” the southernmost boundary (Museum of Western Colorado records). This is significant to Grand Junction’s history because it shows the growth we have experienced in the last 136 years. In those 136 years, many families came and settled. They came in covered wagons from back east, to make a better life for their families. As the times changed they came in moving vans. These families created roots that run deep within those few miles of original border streets. My family came to Grand Junction in 1963. My grandparents raised my dad, my uncle and my aunts here. They attended Grand Junction High School and Central High School. My husband grew up here, my kids grew up here and now my grandkids are growing up here.
Most of us do agree that growth is good but not to the detriment of our history. Our country is already experiencing places where statues are being ripped down by people that oppose what those statues represent. The history, good or bad, will be lost forever. Do we really want to perpetuate that same mentality here, in our little valley of sunshine and wonder? Does our city council want to forever be known as the council that yanked our history out from under our feet for the sake of a university?
Again I ask, “So, what’s in a name?” Let that sink in and then ask yourself, “Is changing a street name really worth the changing of our history?”
R-5 school is a template for what learning can be in today’s world
Recently I had the pleasure of touring the R-5 school. What a remarkable institution! It is not only the only high school using the new Performance Based Learning system which is being phased in throughout District 51 but it is also creating its own program techniques in order to create a learning environment in which all students from many different backgrounds can thrive. The school incorporates collaborative learning, responsibility to community, and self-directed learning with layers of support from other students as well as faculty all along the way. They also have created a student built greenhouse and are developing an organic garden where they will learn to raise healthful food. Of course, all students must reach the competency standards required by the state of Colorado in order to graduate, but they also learn to be members of a community, work together, and be self-directed learners. Despite the fact that schools in this area are pathetically underfunded and have nowhere near the materials they really need, the R-5 school is a template for what learning can be in today’s world. They have a Facebook page (and, I believe, a wish list) if you want to learn more.
Also, if you care about the future potential of the world, I would ask you to consider voting for the two ballot measures supporting school funding (3A and 3B) which will at least help to make our area closer to what other areas around the country are willing to spend on their children’s futures.