This letter to the community was written by the Tribune Editorial Board in Greeley. It could have been written for Jeffco or our friends in Thompson. We are sharing the letter in it’s entirety below. See the link to the article here – http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/opinion/tribune-opinion-no-on-3a-a-mistake-for-greeley/#
Shame on you, Greeley.
You just said no to our children.
You just voted down Greeley-Evans School District 6’s modest, reasonable and desperately needed mill-levy override.
Usually we’d take some line that we’re disappointed with the results. But disappointed isn’t strong enough.
This isn’t just a vote against Greeley’s children. It’s a vote against Greeley’s future.
The last time the district went for a mill-levy override, we were in the depths of a recession. The Great Recession, they called it. We didn’t like the final result, but we understood it. People were hurting.
Now? Well, we’re still Greeley, and the district is still filled with kids who need free or reduced lunches. But things are better. The oil and gas boom was good to us, even now, in a downturn. We’re definitely not in a recession. And yet residents are saying they can’t pay a couple hundred bucks to invest in our kids.
Business leaders have talked, repeatedly, on how a bright economic future isn’t possible without a strong school district. Employers believe a qualified and well-trained workforce is perhaps the most important factor to sustained growth and competitiveness. Attracting new businesses to our community is dependent on whether they can find qualified workers and a community in which their employees want to live.
Even the Board of Weld County Commissioners, a group of Republicans who value fiscal responsibility, know the value of an education. They’re paying for college educations through the Bright Futures program. They want Weld to be better.
We know some voted against 3A because they hate higher taxes. They think the school district should succeed with the current level of tax revenue it collects per student.
But what kind of message does it send when we are one of only a handful of school districts across the state that won’t bump up its local taxes to enhance per-student funding? Even conservative, anti-tax voters in Weld County communities such as Windsor and Keenesburg and Gilcrest-LaSalle-Platteville approved MLOs on Tuesday.
We’ll tell you what kind of message it sends. We are saying we’re OK with continuing to struggle with the cycle of poverty that’s kept us in the shadow of Longmont and Fort Collins and Loveland.
The district was crystal clear as to where the projected $12 million annually would go. It would update textbooks and technology, cover critical deferred maintenance and keep the excellent staff and class sizes we enjoy now. The district even agreed to a seven-year sunset on the MLO, an unusual move among school districts.
There’s no opulence there. The district has demonstrated over and over that it’s barely scraping by. It doesn’t have the money to buy current textbooks.
Yes, there are success stories, wonderful examples of schools that are doing well despite the fact that there’s no money. But here’s the hard truth. It won’t be this way forever.
Eventually, school buses that were built in the 1980s will break down. Eventually, textbooks that are 16 years old and are being held together by chewing gum won’t stand the test of time. Eventually, all those teachers who continue to beat the odds will leave.
Eventually, disillusioned parents will leave, too. And Greeley’s future will go with them.
We would try to convince them to stay. But today we can’t do that. It’s not that we don’t want our city to have a future. It’s just that, after this result, it doesn’t seem like our residents want one.
— The Tribune Editorial Board
Kudos and thanks to the Tribune Editorial Board for recognizing the importance of these measures that impact our children around the state and understanding that commitment to public education is crucial for our future.