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Vail Valley Voices: It’s crucial that 3B pass

Susie Davis and Steve Coyer
Vail, CO, Colorado

On behalf of The Youth Foundation Board of Directors and The Youth Foundation staff, we feel it is appropriate to weigh in on ballot initiative 3B and how it will impact the well-being of children and families in Eagle County.

As a strong partner with Eagle County Schools, The Youth Foundation has worked closely over the years to address the needs of the changing demographics in our community and to help close the achievement gap. And we have seen impressive results.

Through our unique partnership with Eagle County Schools, The Youth Foundation is playing an essential role in providing extended learning time to help students reach grade level proficiency in their reading skills, increase their physical activity and overall wellness, and expose them to enriching opportunities that ignite passion and inspire dreams among the most at-risk youth.



However, if funding is further cut in our school district, it will have an enormously negative impact on our schools, widen the pervasive achievement gap that we have made significant strides to close, and ultimately hurt our most precious resource: our children.

Eagle County Schools already relies on private funds from local community members and nonprofit organizations (like the Youth Foundation) to enhance its effectiveness without costing taxpayers additional money. That is a role that we proudly play.

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We support the efforts to be more resourceful on fewer dollars. However, the current budget that the school district is forced to operate under cannot get any tighter without having severe consequences for our children and in our classrooms.

By passing 3B, we are agreeing to restore funding levels from 2007.

Colorado lags far behind our neighbors in per pupil funding for education and nearly $2,000 per pupil behind the national average (before the 2009 and 2010 state cuts).



A shortage of funding for our schools has already led to cutting teaching positions, instituting furlough days, cutting materials and supplies in the classroom, limiting professional development opportunities and postponing important maintenance updates in schools.

Underfunding education only brings about more long-term societal problems like the academic failures and dropouts that occur when young people are not engaged.

We understand that many families are faced with having to make difficult financial decisions themselves and tighten their own belts.

But by making the short-term choice to not support 3B, we will see long-term consequences that will fall on the burden of all taxpayers through increased unemployment rates among teachers, increased youth delinquency as a result of disengaged students, and an unprepared workforce for decades to come.

Families look to our schools for support, and during difficult economic times, families become even more reliant on the safety net that schools can provide.

But with the projected budget cuts, schools will not be able to provide the necessary safety nets for families, particularly those that are struggling most within their own households.

Investing in education makes good economic sense. After all, if our children’s generation is to inherit a broken economy and a staggering deficit, then the least that we can provide for them is a decent education to equip them for the challenges that lie ahead.

This generation will need to know how to think creatively and how to solve complex problems. We believe that there is no better gift than the gift of education. There are many children right here in Eagle County who lack the tools and the support system necessary for the pursuit of a good education.

With the support of the entire community and with your vote in favor of 3B, we can continue to make progressive strides in Eagle County to lay the foundation for a bright and prosperous future. Please join us in supporting public education.

Susie Davis is the executive director and Steve Coyer is the chairman of The Youth Foundation.


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