Printed Letters: August 24, 2017

Money in good hands with Haptonstall

The taxpayers’ dollars would be in good hands at District 51 with Dr. Haptonstall leading the spending. As a former employee of Garfield 16, many noticeable capital improvements were made while Dr. Haptonstall was the superintendent.

Buildings were constructed, buses were purchased, and the appearance of the exterior grounds was improved.

Additionally, the money needed for necessary professional development that supported the mission and vision of the district was secured. As a result, Garfield 16 underwent a transformation that was greatly needed in a small community because the taxpayer’s dollar was carefully managed. The money was used to improve student achievement and the overall well-being of the district.

BRIAN RODDIGER
Clifton

America must keep its 
promise to dreamers

I know a few dreamers – adult children who arrived in the U.S. when they were babies. Every one of those fine folks that I have met with are the cream of the crop. They are strongly and courageously working toward careers in the medical, teaching, and other promising fields to make America greater.

They are bilingual (at least) and are fluent English speaking. They are part of the promise for our future as America. Please join me in keeping our American promise to them.

VALERIE ETTER
Clifton

Colorado is dark when it comes to judicial discipline

What’s the big deal about the total eclipse? You didn’t have to go to Wyoming to see it.

Colorado is dark all the time regarding judicial discipline proceedings. They’re confidential; not public. We’re like only 14 other states — the same number that the total solar eclipse touched.

Not even the judicial performance commissions that advise you whether to retain a judge know whether a judge has been disciplined.

And because Colorado’s Commission on Judicial Discipline dismisses complaints against judges at a rate of 97 percent, it’s really a double total eclipse.

Make that a triple. Colorado’s Open Records Act doesn’t apply to the judicial branch. Judges write their own rules regarding disclosure of all their records in Colorado.

Want to experience a total eclipse? Just visit a Colorado court. It’s dark 24/7, 365 days a year.

CHRIS FORSYTH
Wheat Ridge

Oil and gas development does not equal more school funding

As a former educator, I am well aware of how convoluted and difficult it is to parse public education funding.

I am also aware of the frequent promise made by oil and gas operators that increased development will improve our school and increase funding. Recent studies have called into question the validity of the promises, and I believe we need to see a more detailed local study conducted on the impact of oil and gas development on our public schools and their funding.

Public education funding in Colorado has a particularly fraught relationship with oil and gas production. Colorado public education funding depends on local revenue sources to a greater extent than many other states, and Delta County already sits toward the bottom in per-pupil funding.

Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights further complicates the funding issue by capping the amount of revenue a district can collect. That cap means that as local severance tax revenue increases with production, other sources of revenue are automatically ratcheted down. As bust inevitably follows boom, severance tax revenues diminish, and school districts are let in a hole, unable to increase revenues without voter approval.

A new study by Resources for the Future highlights many of the risks school districts face when in the path of an impending oil and gas boom: rapid increases in student population, greater student turnover rates, decreased per-pupil funding, and greater difficulty in retaining faculty and staff. These risks are especially relevant for Delta County. As I mentioned above, Delta County is already at the bottom of the pack in per-pupil funding. Decisions being made on oil and gas development must have more specific details outlining the positive and negative impacts on a broad range of issues, and in this case, our local education system. As a mother of three young children who are embarking on their educational journey here in Delta County, I would hope to see that economic decisions being made at the local level, have been thoroughly researched, identifying specific effects, that reflect on short-term and long-term benefits and consequences.

Education is the foundation of the future, and Delta County must fully consider the impact any oil and gas development could have on our school district. We owe it to the students, teachers, and community.

MELISSA MUNOZ
Paonia


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