Printed letters, Oct. 20, 2011

The 20,000-plus students in our valley deserve your support with a “Yes” vote on 3B, the school district mill levy override. The money generated will go directly to our students and schools.

I applaud the community organizations (Chamber of Commerce, Grand Junction Economic Partnership, The Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Democrats and many more) and public leaders (Sen. Steve King, former Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, former Sen. Tillie Bishop, County Commissioner Janet Rowland, City Councilwoman Teresa Coons, Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster, Home Loan President Jamie Hamilton and many more) who have had the guts to stand up for kids in this community and ask people to support 3B.

The funds generated from the passage of 3B will be used for very specific reasons: adding back days into the school calendar, hiring back teachers to work directly with students, working to equalize technology so that each of those 20,000 plus-students have access and the chance to develop needed 21st century technological skills.

The heroes who work with struggling and handicapped students and students who don’t attend school regularly in their classrooms should be recognized and applauded, not criticized for low test scores.

School District 51 needs the financial resources to address the needs of those struggling students. Gifted students deserve that same support.

Hats off to Clifton Elementary staff, who have raised student achievement dramatically and were able to do so after receiving a huge grant. Extra planning time requires additional money. So do additional staff to work with struggling students and purchasing new resources and technology.

If community members want higher achievement and graduation rates, along with the ability to attract new businesses, then step up to the plate, support your community schools. Visit schools and volunteer to help those struggling students achieve more.

Vote “Yes” on Referred Measure 3B.

LINDA REEVES

Grand Junction

Throwing more money at education won’t help

My ballot came in the mail recently and it made me stop and think. As a volunteer for an organization that sends boxes and letters to troops, who better than me to see the awful writing skills coming out of schools today? I’ve read a lot of letters in seven years.

Spelling and grammar skills are almost nonexistent, but the older writers (60-plus) seem to be better. So, I wondered: If education today is so great, why can’t kids write and spell as good as those older folks?

The letters and notes I read span from ages 6 to 80. When did we stop teaching the basics? From about age 45 down, the skills almost disappear.

Imagine a company where a worker who is incompetent can’t be fired unless he or she doesn’t get better in two years? Are you kidding? This is School District 51.

I’m not in favor of Proposition 103 either. It’s will allow taxes to raise a bunch of money for more of the same.

I firmly believe education here and everywhere is a complete mess and nothing short of a complete do-over and elimination of the teachers’ union will clear up the choke-hold they have on school policy. Unless we do that soon, we’ll continue to see cutbacks and budget shortfalls.

My vote is “No” to any tax increases, including 3B. Throwing more money at this without complete reform is nuts.

AL CARLEY

Grand Junction

Our children deserve a chance for great education

School District 51 funding is not about graduating rocket scientists. That’s what colleges and universities do after that essential K–12 education. School District 51 funding gets our future leaders and possible rocket scientists ready to face the challenges of life. They are the future of our society.

School District 51 ranks toward the bottom of school funding, not only in our state, but across the nation. Funding for teachers, classrooms and classroom technology is essential for our children’s education. Referred Measure 3B is essential for the education of our children.

Schools will close, and we will lose more teachers if this measure does not pass. Our economy, as we all know, is in a state of flux. It will level out and improve as time goes on, but for the six years until sunset on this increase, this funding will keep our schools viable.

This viability is essential to our children’s’ education, their future and our own future. The children today will be the business owners and leaders of tomorrow. Shouldn’t we give them every chance with a great education.

AMY AGAPITO

Grand Junction

Tax increase necessary to improve education

District 51 has implemented creative and, in some cases, drastic measures to help “do more with less,” as its budget has been repeatedly slashed. Staff positions have been eliminated at every level, instructional days have been cut, classes are overcrowded and school libraries and computer labs have shortened their hours. We’re barreling toward a cliff, and voters are being asked to help step on the brakes before we plunge over the edge.

We have two chances this election to apply the brakes: Measure 3B and Proposition 103. Both are designed as temporary tax measures to offer short-term relief while more permanent solutions are crafted.

In recent years, Mesa County property values have declined. Most residential property owners will see a reduction in the property tax they owe next year, even if the 3B mill levy override is approved.

But local property taxes only account for about 35 percent of the District 51 budget in 2011–2012. State funds comprise more than 60 percent of this year’s budget. Further cuts from the state will have serious consequences, offsetting some of the gains we make by passing 3B. Without 3B, further cuts from the state will be devastating.

Proposition 103 is designed to prevent additional cuts at the state level for the next five years. The income and sales tax rates proposed by Prop. 103 are the same tax rates that were in place in Colorado during the 1990s (a time of prosperity), and they are still some of the lowest in the nation.

I am a concerned citizen and a parent volunteer who has spent many hours in schools over the past 12 years, and I fully support both 3B and 103.

Please calculate the actual financial effect these measures will have on you. Will you make this investment in our students, our community and our economy? More important, can you afford the hidden, long-term costs of not making this investment?

HARRIET CARPENTER

Grand Junction

All businesses will be affected by tax increase

I am a small-business owner and I oppose Referred Measure 3B. I just heard that Colorado Mesa University endorses 3B. My question is: Who pays their property taxes?

Every business, large and small, will be affected by this tax increase. The increase will be passed on to the consumer. If you are a residential property owner, you will pay twice — through your own taxes and increased costs in products and services from all businesses. The argument that the kids education will be hurt is not all true.

As an employer, I have problems finding graduates who can count back change, let alone be able to write or spell. I don’t see that changing just by dumping good money after bad.

The school district needs to adjust its budget to a reduction in funds, just as we all have had to adjust our budgets.

CHRIS MENZIES

Grand Junction

School district pleas are difficult to believe

School District 51 officials tell us they have cut $28 million over the last two years, but now they need $12.5 million of that returned. They also tell us that if we don’t vote “Yes” on 3B, our children will be under-educated, second-rate citizens.

Then they tell us that, after six years, they will no longer need the $75 million that they want to take from us.

I don’t know about the rest of my fellow property-taxpaying neighbors, but I quit believing in the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny a long time ago. Now I should believe District 51?

Vote “No” on 3B.

TIM PARTSCH

Grand Junction



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