Routt County educators weigh support of state tax increase

Initiative 25 would raise sales and income tax rates to increase funding for public schools by millions

Advertisement

— A proposed tax that would increase funding for Colorado public schools is drawing support from educators in Routt County.

If passed in November, state Sen. Rollie Heath’s Initiative 25 temporarily would increase the state’s income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent and increase the sales tax from 2.9 percent to 3 percent for the next five years. The increase would net an estimated $535 million a year until 2017 for Colorado’s public schools.

Citing three years of state budget shortfalls that have resulted in cuts to K-12 funding of more than $700 million, the Colorado Association of School Boards endorsed Heath’s proposal and is asking the districts that the association represents to weigh in.

Steamboat Springs School Board President Robin Crossan and Vice President Brian Kelly were among the 140,000 to sign a petition this summer to have Heath’s proposal go to the ballot box in November. The secretary of state has 30 days to verify the petitions that will determine whether the tax increase goes to voters.

“Today, we’re trying to do the same or more things at our schools with less money,” Kelly said. “That’s why I signed” the petition.

In South Routt, Superintendent Scott Mader supports the measure, and he predicts his school board will adopt a resolution in favor of the tax increase this fall.

“We’re trying to serve many, many more students with the dollars we had 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s impossible to keep up with the circumstances without some kind of extra funds.”

And in Hayden, School Board President Brian Hoza said although he is in favor of the proposal, longer-term solutions need to be identified.

“This is just a temporary solution, and we need to look at more permanent sources of funding,” he said.

Hoza and other school board members across the state concede the funding from Heath’s proposed tax increase would be more of a temporary fix than a permanent solution for districts, but they also think additional sources of revenue are needed as more cuts are forecasted for next year.

Paula Stephenson, the executive director of the Colorado Rural Schools Caucus, distributed petitions for the measure in Steamboat and said Sunday that the temporary tax increase could alleviate any additional education cuts.

“I see this little step as a Band-Aid until we come up with a broader-based solution to Colorado’s budget crisis,” she said. “We’ve had the most devastating cuts in the last three years, and if this doesn’t pass, we could be looking at another 10 percent cut.”

Stephenson said she predicts that it will be difficult to get Initiative 25 passed in the current economic climate.

“It will be a tough battle,” she said. “People are traditionally supportive of education in Colorado, and I think the education cuts we saw this year woke a lot of people up to just how dire this situation is.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

pitpoodle 2 years, 8 months ago

When the teachers unions and school boards start understanding that increases in taxes doesn't mean we want them to feather their own personal nest, then they can talk about taxes increases. Until then, no.

0

Scott Ford 2 years, 8 months ago

Hi Pitpoodle - I think you and I would agree that the process outlined in the State of Colorado's constitution to place this proposed tax increase has been followed. As a result, "we the people" will have the opportunity to vote on it.

I would encourage all of us to go beyond rhetoric such as "feather their own personal nest," to provide specifics as it relates to the three local school districts in Routt County. Do we feel we are getting a value for the tax dollars spent with the local school districts? If no, what do we want our local public educators to do differently?

0

Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

I will support a slight tax increase, only if:

  1. Choice and competition, AKA Vouchers are supported in every school district in the state.

  2. The massively underfunded PERA debacle is resolved without the dumping poor planning and over-promises on the back of taxpayers.

0

pitpoodle 2 years, 8 months ago

Here is a specific: The SBS school board OKing a $100,000 plus salary and $3,000 plus bonus for a superintendent who then decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence in CA where she is from. She was here how long before she scr wed us and our entire community? Sorry, I call that feathering her own nest at our expense. Don't know what you call that particular scring. How about this for doing things differently: Pay attention to how you spend other people's money. Than maybe taxpayers wouldn't be so against education spending.

0

thalgard 2 years, 8 months ago

Jeff..so you want my taxpayer dollars to pay for your kid's religious school?

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

I think he wants HIS taxpayer dollars to pay for HIS kids to be educated by the entity of HIS choice. You know... "pro-choice". Isn't that a big thing for leftists? Or does it apply only to abortion and not education?

0

Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

I didn't realize that Lowell Whiteman Primary is a religious school.

0

thalgard 2 years, 8 months ago

Sled...I think that separation of church and state precludes any of my tax dollars going towards religious indoctrination....now vouchers toward alternative education...I have no problem with that. I just don't agree in any tax dollars going to support one religion over another...you know...that whole constitutional thingy like the D-baggers like to scream about.

0

Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

Isn't a Muslim or Mormon or Buddhist or Atheist or Protestant or Catholic school a source of alternative education? What if a parent disagrees with the indoctrination served up by public schools? And what about public funds paying teachers that overwhelming vote for and contribute to one political party?

We should be giving vouchers to parents who choose to home-school their kids, too. It's their kids, it should be their choice.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

The general trouble with vouchers is that if a private school can skim the best behaved students from public schools and doesn't have to deal with the kids with problems then it is pretty easy to run that private school. And it would tend to leave the public without the easy to educate kids and only with the problems.

When voucher programs put the same sort of take all kids and deal with the difficult kids requirement onto the private schools as are present in the pubic schools then private schools are far less interested in vouchers.

What baffles me is when schools like Hayden do so poorly at high school math on CSAP (20% proficient) and parents seem to accept the situation. (Or have the parents that don't accept the situation already enrolled their kids in SB schools?) When SB schools score 60% proficient for a test which the state average is 40% then SB is at least doing a good job. But there has to be something going wrong in Hayden for there to be such a huge difference and yet no one is talking about taking urgent steps to address the problem.

0

Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

My experience with private schools is that they have plenty of ill-behaved students. Myself included, back in the day. Somehow they deal with the bad apples better.

I will concede one point, what about the special-ed and special-needs kids? I am hardly heartless.

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Thalgard, What "Constitutional thingy" ???

Religious indoctrination happens every day in government schools. It's just a different religion. One you tolerate: Environmentalism and Statism.

0

thalgard 2 years, 8 months ago

Sled....now that is just silly. Neither of those political concepts are religions...they are based upon science, not some imaginary friend like religion is. Go suck your tailpipe, cretin.

0

Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

D-baggers? Enjoy your vinegar and water cocktail, thaltard.

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Thalgard, Environmentalism is too a religion. In fact it is the religion of choice among todays atheists. It has all the stuff christianity has: A Garden of "Eden" or "state of unity with nature". Mans fall into sin is now "pollution". We are all energy sinners condemned to die unless we seek "salvation" which is now called "sustainability". Sustainability is "Salvation" in the Church of the Holy Environment".

Sounds just like Christianity to me... except without God.

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, had to pause for lunch. Now statism. Thats a bit more complicated and rather than take a lot of time explaining it to a religious zealot like yourself who won't listen I will keep it short.

Statism exibits the same characteristics as religion in that people who believe in it can not be reasoned with. Example: Every time communism, socialism, and fascism have been tried they have failed miserably yet to those who are true believers they can not be made to accept that failure.

This is exactly like religious zealots who insist, despite geologic evidence to the contrary, that the earth is only 6000 years old.

Not a darn bit of difference, Thalgard.

0

heboprotagonist 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey sled- I agree with your characterization of "statism", though I would add capitalism to the list of failed policies. Oh, a select few have benefited here and there, but as evidenced by the near collapse of our gov. last week and the steady decline of our economy of the last 20 years, capitalism has been far from beneficial to the majority of Americans.

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Hebo, Thanks,but Your assumptions are a bit skewed. We have not practiced Capitalism since FDR. What you reffer to as the "Capitalism" that failed is really more correctly dubbed "crony- capitalism" which is very similar to fascism. True Capitalism, where everybody plays by the rules and suffers the ENTIRE consequences of their mistakes has not been part of the American equation for many years. If we tried that it would be a success but we would have to stand by and see people suffer the consequences of their stupidity in the interrim... that is what the American electorate can't do.

0

blue_spruce 2 years, 8 months ago

"...What if a parent disagrees with the indoctrination served up by public schools?..."

yeah right. crazy liberal ideas like evolution.

PALIN 2012

0

heboprotagonist 2 years, 8 months ago

Sled- and I would argue that none of the "failed" attempts at socialism were ever "true socialism" where everybody plays by the same rules....

Sounds to me like you your making the same excuses you accuse other of, and that your susceptible to "statism" as everyone else.

The bottom line is that I can respect the argument that differs from mine as long is that respect is returned. When either side accuses the other of being "conservative clinging to guns and religion" or "liberal brainwashed statist" that's when communication breaks down and compromise is unachievable.

Neither side is ever going to get a TRUE capitalist or TRUE socialist society. We need to let go of those myths and get down to the business of getting along. We're both going to be disappointed, but we don't have to burn the place down.

0

Jeff Kibler 2 years, 8 months ago

We were taught evolution in elementary school by a bunch of crazy liberal priests and nuns.

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Hebo, The reality is that few things, this side of Heaven are 100% pure. The fact is, however, as the rules are held closer and closer to pure capitalism more and more of society benifits. Wealth and prosperity and opportunity are increased to a broader and broader cross section of society. Conversely, as the rules slide closer and closer to pure socialism wealth and prosperity are diminished and opportunity is available to a smaller cross section of that society.

I just finished a good book about the trials of socialism in America. Did you know that the pilgrims started off under socialism when the came to America? Did you know it almost killed them? Did you know when they abandoned that for a capitalist/ individual/ private property economy they immediately began to thrive? I was never taught that in government schools. The title of the book will probably scare you off but it is very educational "A Conservative History of Socialism in America" by Daniel J. Flynn

I noticed Thalgard never got back to me on that "Constitutional thingy". Whats wrong Thalgard? Couldn't find that in the Constitution after all, huh??

0

housepoor 2 years, 8 months ago

It will be entertaining to hear the republican candidates opinion on evolution, abortion, gay marriage and the power of prayer that is now being used in Texas to end the drought.......................

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Pure capitalism ends up becoming gangsterism. Without regulation and a fair legal system then pure capitalism rewards companies that sabotage competitors by any means including violence.

Standard Oil dealt with competitors by blowing up their refineries. It took Teddy Roosevelt to break up Standard Oil and to pass anti-trust laws.

I think the biggest trouble this country faces is how ideology has become more important to especially Washington DC than pragmatism. There used to be consensus from both parties that if an idea worked then it didn't matter much if it might be considered a conservative or liberal idea. Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were arguably two of the most radical Presidents by how they said the US Government had the power to fight against the secessionist states or to regulate and limit trusts (corporations). Republicans with a Republican President approved the EPA and the Clean Water Act because having rivers catch on fire was not good for anyone.

There was a time when Democrats and Republicans were not lock step voting blocs, but ran as candidates to be a choice in the local elections and be a bit left or right of each other. So then Democrats from the South were more conservative than Republicans from the Northeast. And so there was a middle ground. But now both parties have purged themselves of their moderate wings and the most conservative congressional Democrat is left of the most liberal Republican. So neither party has any one wanting to compromise with the other party and all of them are confident that the people that voted for them want it that way.

0

sledneck 2 years, 8 months ago

Come on Scott. No one ever said we need a free-for-all. Why not state that "pure socialism ends up becomming London last night".??? I'm not advocating lawlesness, I'm advocating capitalism. And you know, as well as you're sitting there, that it's the best chance for the broadest section of people to have wealth far beyond what socialism will ever provide.

"Blowing up" competitors is unlawful and no one is advocating that. Stop with the hyperbole and admit that the closer to capitalism a society stays the richer, more prosperous that society becomes. And the biggest difference is that opportunity for advancement opens to a far broader segment of capitalist societies than socialist ones.

0

Scott Wedel 2 years, 8 months ago

Why not state that pure capitalism ends up becoming London last night? It makes as little sense as inserting the phrase "pure socialism" because neither exist in their pure forms. Pure capitalism does not exist because there are all sorts of regulations upon businesses. Pure socialism does not exist because people set up side businesses even in communist countries.

Saying something is "closer to capitalism" makes no sense because the closest thing to pure capitalism is totally unregulated and the justice system being corrupted and bought. So the most beneficial form of capitalism is going to have anti-corruption regulations, anti-trust regulations, child labor laws and so on. So to what extent a country is capitalist or socialist is all a matter of degree based upon that country's regulatory system.

The real promise of America is a place that anyone can succeed on their own merits. England is certainly a less regulated capitalist system than say Sweden, but the English have never gotten over class and they have the least social mobility of about any country. Children of the well off go to the right schools and are hired by the right companies and so on. Meanwhile Sweden has a more heavily regulated form of capitalism, but far more social mobility because companies are far more willing to hire based upon merit than upon family connections.

But America's history for far too long allowed upward social mobility only for white men. I had an aunt that literally was not allowed by her police department to take the test to become a sergeant. She had to go to court and with the help of NOW she won the right to take the written test. So when she passed that they refused to let her take the physical test. So back to court on that and then she broke her ankle and a day letter comes a letter stating she was now REQUIRED to take the physical test within a week. The level of cynicism used by people to control the system for them and their friends was simply evil. Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities had it worse than that. This country was thoroughly screwed up not that long ago. And the "activist" judges that refused to allow that sort of crap to continue were a huge part of making this a country for all citizens where the promises of the Constitution applied to everyone.

Having grown up and worked in Silicon Valley, I certainly recognize the power of capitalism to allocate capital to ideas that no central planner would ever consider adding to a 5 year plan and that those unexpected ideas can become highly successful companies that inspire bunches of other companies. But it would be foolish to argue that Silicon Valley became what it is because it offered a purer form of capitalism that available elsewhere.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.