Vail Daily letter: Drop in the ocean
Vail, CO, Colorado
Thank you, Patrick Baskins, for suggesting that people who want better schools should volunteer their time through local fundraising efforts. However, your justification for not spending $17,000 on the 3B campaign is insulting.
I believe in the democratic system and understand that people voted not to raise taxes this year in support our schools. It is a very hard pill to swallow knowing how great our teachers are and how much harder they will have to work when their class sizes get larger and support staff diminishes. I hate that 3B did not pass, but will live with it.
What is insulting is that you think $17,000 would make a dent in the $4 million-$5 million the Eagle County School District will need to cut from their upcoming budget. It was a gamble that many of us felt was worthwhile.
As co-president of Homestake Peak School PTA, I have spent countless hours doing just what Patrick suggested, “working tickets at school plays … organizing fundraisers” to raise money for PTA. I am not alone in spending time, money and effort towards helping our schools.
People often say, “How can you do so much?” My sassy answer has always been, “I help out because the teachers spend more time with my child than I do!” But really, it is incredibly rewarding to see them so thankful for my efforts.
What people do not understand, and what I find most frustrating, is that even if our PTA wanted to give $17,000 to the district, or could raise $4 million dollars by sending our kindergarteners out selling chocolate or raffle tickets, or if I could write a $4 million check, we could not contribute a penny toward school district salaries. Legally, we are not allowed. Therefore, we cannot help pay for classroom teachers, nurse’s aides, special education teachers, art teachers, or bus drivers. Many will lose their jobs next year.
This year marked the 21st anniversary of Wild West Day. Nine elementary schools work together on one coordinated fundraising event making this the largest fundraiser for these schools and, on average, raises $160,000. This event was designed to limit donation requests to valley businesses and to reduce how often we send our kids out into the community asking for money. This might very well change.
Now, the reality is that district staff and volunteers who attend school and district accountability committee, district budget committee or Board of Education meetings will work hard this year and next to reconcile the budget and its direct impact on our classrooms. Painful decisions will be made and no matter how much money we raise, PTAs cannot put teachers back in the classroom.
So, when that kindergartner knocks on your door, I hope you open your wallet so we can continue to support our schools in the only way we can. Enough of the petty comparisons; $17,000 is not even a drop in the bucket toward helping our school district’s budget.