Kids Voting: Student opinion poll

On Nov. 3, kids voted along with adults. In Mesa County, 9,856 students cast their votes for term limits and school board candidates through the Kids Voting Mesa County program — a record turnout in an off-year election.

They also were surveyed about school, state and national issues. Newly elected school board members also weighed in on these concerns.

When asked if class size affects teaching and learning, more than 75 percent of the surveyed students said class size does impact learning.

“In my AP calculus class there were 33 students at the beginning of the year,” said Kat Hasley, Fruita Monument High School senior. “Some students felt pressured to drop the class because they didn’t think they would get enough attention.”

Re-elected board member Harry Butler said, “Like the students, I believe smaller classes make learning more efficient.”

Surveyed students said they believe school vandalism occurs and students act out in class because students are seeking attention (25 percent), are angry with lives and family (20 percent) or they’re bored (15 percent).

Three board members indicated the volume of vandalism in the district is relatively low.

“While the problem is not huge, each occurrence increases maintenance costs — that is an issue of concern,’’ said re-elected board member Leslie Kiesler.

Students also were asked to list ways the school district could save money. A common suggestion was fundraising. Ideas ranged from selling Sally Foster products to collecting box tops.

Another suggestion was to increase recycling and conservation efforts. From turning off lights to using less paper, students offered a multitude of suggestions to turn the district green.

Board members appeared interested in students’ ideas.

“Kids are pretty darn sharp,” said newly elected board member Greg Mikolai. “Seeing issues through kids’ eyes is a good way for adults to see things differently.”

Concerning other issues, 64 percent of surveyed students believed cell phone use should be illegal while driving, 81 percent were in favor of a government initiative for affordable health care and 42 percent believed community service should be a district graduation requirement.

“I think that it’s (community service) good because it gets kids involved — but it also forces them to do the work — it’s not their choice,” said Grand Junction High School senior LeAnn Brock.

A majority (83 percent) of students who voted this year indicated participation of two or more years in the Kids Voting program. Many (62 percent) plan to register and vote in future adult elections.

Legislators, are you listening?

***

Meriah Redding is a senior at Fruita Monument High School who is reporting on election issues for The Daily Sentinel in conjunction with Kids Voting of Mesa County.


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