Vail Daily letters to the editor
Vail, CO, Colorado
For the common good
Wrong! “Why I am voting no to school tax” is dead wrong. Our country grew to be the world leader that it is largely through educating its citizens through public education and the GI Bill. This success has been achieved because all receive the same opportunity for quality of education regardless of ability to pay.
Had the U.S. taken Mark Hall and his friends’ attitude, America would never become an economic and technological powerhouse. Top level public education is for the common good – we are all equally responsible.
Insisting that successful education of our youth be dependent on the parent’s ability to pay assures that only the children of the elite class will achieve financial and political success. The divide between the haves and have-nots is already expanding at an alarming rate.
The current Wall Street (and beyond) demonstrations are a faint harbinger of what’s to become if we fail to educate our youth – the creation a growing uneducated, unemployed, hopeless underclass in this country. Vote yes. Support the best education we can provide!
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
What a kid thinks
There has been a lot of controversy of the new 3b tax option. Now it has all been adults discussing what is best for the future generations. That future generation is my generation. No one has ever thought of asking the people this whole discussion relies on.
Now, I do realize that we do not pay taxes or bills but something we do, will do, and have done for a long time is go to school. The education funds have been depleted for awhile, but I haven’t really noticed it for a long time. Well until this year have I realized the change of the school year. The push for education with the new testing systems, objectives, and lessons.
Now, a new school year has changes, but I have over heard conversations between teachers about how it is annoying and challenging to meet the short deadlines of the new curriculum.
3B opens new realms of learning for students such as me. Taxes are high enough as it is, and I understand that. Now, with the higher education could mean a better community. 3B doesn’t have to last long, just long enough for a new plan.
3B is a good idea until another solution is found. So from a 13-year-old’s standpoint, I agree that 3B is a good idea. If you would like to help education and the future generation, then vote for it. If not, then save your money.
Can’t vote to add tax now
I just read Mark Hall’s Letter to the editor from Wednesday. I feel that Mark brings up an interesting argument that those who use public services, in this case public education, should pay more for the services than those who don’t use them.
I find his argument quite flawed. Has Mark ever had his property ablaze, needed first responder assistance, or dealt with his local municipality for court, development review, or road and trail maintenance? He can probably respond yes to some and no to others, but I’m guessing he wouldn’t mind paying his fair share for those essential public services.
Taxes are intended to fund public services that are available to all members of the public, regardless of the use. How would Mark feel if the fire district refused to put out a fire at his property because he paid less than his neighboring property that is also ablaze.
Now I must say that although his reasons are flawed, I will follow in his footsteps and also vote no to the school district property tax increase. I have two reasons. First, there is no sunset clause attached to the proposal. We all understand that property valuations are depressed at the moment, but we live in a resort community and those valuations will eventually rebound. It may be three, six, or nine years down the road, but eventually they will increase, and at that time the school district will not only have the increased funding from this taxation, but also their portion of our base property taxes. I cannot envision a scenario where the school board revokes the property tax increase and allows their funding to decrease.
Second, I cannot support a proposed tax increase that increases the funding level. Whether you work for or own a private business, public entity, quasi-governmental agency or anything in between you have either had to cut spending or have seen funding reduced due to the downturn in the economy.
The school district, and for that matter the fire district, should also have to deal with the same issues. These are tough economic times for people, and with that these agencies need to make tough economic decisions that may impact a level of service they are accustomed to. Maybe the school district needs to look long and hard at how they operate and find opportunities to increase efficiencies.
Imperative to pass 3B
To Eagle County residents who don’t think 3B should impact you: You probably live here for the wonderful recreation and lifestyle that our valley has to offer. From our beautiful ski mountains, to our golf courses, biking, hiking, fishing, boating, camping, etc., the Vail Valley is a place that people want to come to visit and a place where people are lucky to live. The residents of Eagle County are a mix of renters, primary homeowners, second-home owners, etc., of all ages and backgrounds. And they include families with children of all ages.
The health of not only our school district, but also our valley, is at stake. In the last two years, the school district’s budget has been cut by $9 million , resulting in cutting 96 full-time positions, pay freezes, cuts to incentive pay, cuts to building budgets, increases to health-care costs and more. If 3B does not have your support, our school district can expect another 40-70 full-time positions to be cut in 2012-13, elimination of bus routes, increases in class sizes by roughly five-10 students per class, possible closing of under-capacity schools, additional salary cuts and pay freezes, and cuts in medical and health benefits for employees. That is potentially 166 full-time positions lost in three years.
If we don’t see our schools as a priority, the families that move here will not, either. After all, who would want to send their kids to schools with 30-plus children in a class, and limited resources?
If it becomes less appealing to send kids to our schools, or less appealing to live in this valley, we can expect that the property values of all of our homes will continue to go down, impacting us all.
You may think that it is not your responsibility to pay for the education of children that are not your own, but as a new homeowner in the valley, without children, I could never imagine saying that it is not my responsibility. It is our responsibility as a society to educate our youth.
If you do not own a home, voting yes will cost you nothing. If you own a home, a $250,000 home would cost you an increase of less than $4 a month. In addition, second- or third-home owners will also be paying for this increase, whether they live here full time or not, contributing to our schools to help carry the burden.
Since what the district is asking for is capped, you will not see an increase in your property taxes beyond this. So please consider supporting not only the school district, but the teachers and students who have already been feeling the burden for years, and, of course, our valley. Your support is imperative.
A non-vote is a vote against, so please take the time to vote in support of 3B. Vote yes.
We just disagree
No need to kill the messenger nor demonize the advocate!
Mr. Shipley perceives an opportunity to vote on an Eagle County School District revenue ballot issue as an outrageous demand, and of course that’s his prerogative. I believe the school board had a responsibility to give the voters the opportunity to mitigate some of the recession’s impact on our schools.
We need law enforcement professionals to tell society we should make public safety a higher priority. Health care professionals to explain how spending or doing more will benefit us. Public transportation experts to point out the benefits of better roads, highways, airways, and railroads. Military professionals to appeal for more money to better our defenses. And educators to continually press for more involvement, commitment and resources.
All of these public sector professionals have a responsibility to be advocates for their area of expertise. While we cannot give any of them everything they ask for, we should expect and respect their advocacy.
While I don’t heed every warning from the experts in my life (i.e. doctor, financial planner, auto mechanic, wife) I’ve learned two things over the years: Sometimes they’re right, and keep a civil tongue in my head.
Vote no if you believe we can’t afford what the school district is asking for. Vote no if you believe the school district doesn’t deserve more. But those of us who believe giving a little more for something we value so much is good advice will be voting yes.
Either way, be nice!
Cool response to hot air
By rights, Michael Mann should sound a lot angrier than he does in his rebuke to Martin Hertzberg. It isn’t every day that a responsible researcher with a lifelong record of scientific integrity has his work and findings impugned so cavalierly.
Well, let me qualify that. Such irresponsible public treatment isn’t on the menu for most scientists, but it is now the norm for climatologists, whose message appears highly unwelcome to the fossil fuel industry. The giant multinational corporations are naturally resistant to anything that will end their profitability, and they have invested millions upon millions of dollars to build a denialist infrastructure which has successfully muddied the debate, delaying action on what is certainly the gravest threat our species has faced in recorded history.
Provoked by their paymasters, the unhinged voices of talk radio hosts and mendacious professional dissenters have created a working environment in which climate scientists now regularly receive death threats along with frivolous lawsuits and public mockery.
Dr. Mann’s rebuke to Martin Hertzberg’s misrepresentations is extraordinarily civil.
My hat’s off to him. Under analogous circumstances, I could never be as courteous.