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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Vail Daily staff

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado COTook great careI rarely respond to newspaper editorials in print; however, I feel obligated to challenge the assumptions that were made by Mr. Freud in his Feb. 27 article on the Battle Mountain High School football head coach selection process. In the article, Freud asserted that the BMHS administration took too long to name a new head coach and that this was an indication that football doesn’t matter at Battle Mountain. In reality, the opposite is true. The athletic director and principal, with the help of a committee comprised of coaches, parents, and a student-athlete, interviewed six very worthy candidates out of a field of 21. We took great care to make the best decision for the Battle Mountain High School program and for the school. At this time of year, most high schools in Colorado have not even filled fall coaching vacancies because the potential teaching openings are still unknown. As the principal, I stand by our process. I coached football for 18 years, 12 years as a head coach, so I do know a little about building a program. The BMHS administration cares deeply about football and all of our extracurricular athletic and activity programs. This includes the students who directly compete and their peers who support them on the sidelines. If Mr. Freud disagrees, he is encouraged to visit with me during any of the multitude of events and programs in which the BMHS administration attends and supports. Brian HesterPrincipalBattle Mountain High SchoolWe said noI have been wondering why we even have elections in Eagle County. Our present county commissioners and the Home Rule Commission seem to do whatever they want with or without our approval.I went to the polls to vote in November because I was taught that our democracy was built on the premise that the government was to be run by the people and for the people. We, the people, spoke loud and clear on the issues of early childhood funding and home rule, and we said no!The day after the election, Arn Menconi was quoted in the paper saying that he would find the money in the budget and do it anyway. I was at a home rule meeting and this was brought up in front of Peter Runyon, who said that Arn would not be able to accomplish that because he would have to get it pass the other two commissioners. What a joke! I have yet to hear Peter go against anything Arn wants.All that I want is to have the county commissioners start representing us as they were elected to do. I want my vote to count! It is up to us in Eagle County to stand up and be heard. We need to demand that our wishes in the November election be honored. We need to say no to spending another $50,000 on a special election for home rule. I for one am tired of being told that we, the voters, were too stupid to understand the first home rule charter or how important early childhood development is. We read, we understood, and we said no!Sandy SkilesBurnDoing what toldA recent headline read “Victories for early care and education in the November 2006 election.” I was encouraged to read of all the good that was accomplished this past November by states and counties that made early-childhood issues a priority.Arizona voters approved the Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative. The initiative is expected to raise as much as $150 million a year from a tax of 4 cents per cigarette (80 cents a pack), 8 cents per cigar and 9 cents per ounce of other tobacco products. These funds can be spent to increase quality and access to early childhood development and health programs as well as family support, professional development, coordination and public information. Nebraska voters approved a constitutional amendment to allow “perpetual school funds” to be used for early childhood education. The amendment creates an early childhood education endowment fund and moves $40 million into the fund. Interest and income from the fund can be used to support early education. Voters in Denver, approved a sales tax, 12 cents on a $100 purchase, to increase access to and improve quality of preschool services for Denver children. It is expected to raise about $12 million annually. Denver children can get tuition assistance to attend preschool. The amount depends on the quality of the preschool and the family’s income. What happened in Eagle County? Voters rejected a proposal that would have raised approximately $3.6 million a year for early childhood programs. It would have cost tax payers less than a dollar a week but was defeated. Why? According to the opinions expressed at the time, not because the children of Eagle County aren’t worthy but because people didn’t want their taxes raised. Again and again it was heard: “Find the money in the existing budget.”The Eagle County commissioners were recently presented a five-year plan with clear outcome measures and cost projections that will begin to address the needs of children and families within our community. There are funds within the existing county budget – if early childhood is a priority. The results of the year-long early-childhood-needs assessment outlined all the difficulties that children and families face in our community. It would be irresponsible to be aware of all these issues and not find a way to address them. Just because a tax initiative that would have provided funding for these issues failed doesn’t make the needs of the children and families go away. I believe that as a community, we do care for our children and families and support quality programs for our children. A fundamental question for me on early childhood investment is “How quickly can we get started on what we know to be a wise and cost-effective investment?” Will the county commissioners find the means in the existing budget to begin to fix the problems or will we lag behind our neighboring counties and states as they make children and families the priority? Please join me in expressing your support for early childhood programs to your county commissioners.Jeanne McQueeney EagleSeeking volunteersThe 20th annual Casino Night will be on Saturday, March 31, at the Marriott Grand Ballroom from 7 p.m. to midnight. We are excited to say that we will have the band Hustle entertaining us while we play blackjack, Texas hold ’em (there will even be a tournament;it is free to enter!). The event benefits eight preschools in the Vail Valley. The event has an amazing silent auction and there is a martini bar this year! We need volunteer dealers for the event. If you would like to support Eagle County Early Childhood Programs by volunteering, please call Angela at 476-1281 or e-mail her at mueller.a@comcast.net. Tickets are $20 before event at participating schools and $25 the night of the event. We look forward to seeing you there supporting the children of Eagle County! Angela Mueller Vail


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