Wayne Lemley: Mill levy a small cost for education
June 22, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat parents and the School Board should consider the important benefit of a small mill levy to raise funds for our school district. An excellent education is one of the most important things we can give our kids. The cost of a mill levy is very small, only a few cents a day per family. Steamboat schools desperately need funds to replace budget cuts over the recent three years.
Why is an excellent education so important for our kids? Students with good college degrees can easily find great employment, even in these times of very high unemployment. Students with good reading, math and communication skills are greatly needed in our country, and they are hired readily. On the other hand, kids who drop out of school face 20 percent or higher unemployment rates. America's youths are now tied for ninth in the world in college attainment.
What greater gift can we give our kids than the very best communication and analytical skills? We need the very best reading and math teaching here in Routt County. Think of what wonderful lives all of our kids will have when they have the greatest communication and math skills. Our kids can become the greatest artists, musicians, engineers, builders, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers or managers. Don't we want our kids to have great lives? Social lives? Have wonderful homes and families? The key is to be smart, well educated, good communicators. Let's give them the very best education possible.
Just think how great it would be if 95 percent of all Steamboat students read and performed math at or above grade level. What wonderful lives we would be giving them. How capable and ready they would be for the very competitive world we now live in. What an accomplishment.
Our public schools desperately need funds. The Steamboat Springs School District has endured big budget cuts for each of the past three years. There are only two gifted and talented teachers in the entire school district. Education technology in the district is becoming out of date while teacher salaries are not high enough to attract the best new teachers to our area. Special education teachers, who help kids with poor reading and math skills, have been studied for cutbacks. Our principals need more staff to manage the schools so that principals can focus on being strong instructional leaders. In the nation's best schools, principals spend 75 percent of their time leading their schools in good instruction, while their staff handles school management.
Another $500,000 in revenue would be a great help to our school district. The cost of such a mill levy would be about $100 per year for a typical family home, less than 50 cents per day. In comparison, private education can cost well over $20,000 per year. An additional $100 per year is a tiny cost to help give our kids an excellent education.
Wayne Lemley has written a number of articles on raising capable children .. http://alumni.brown.edu/lemley.