Bob Hiester: Education tax valued | SteamboatToday.com

Bob Hiester: Education tax valued

Education tax valued

If you ask people, “Is education important?” the overwhelming answer is “yes.” But Colorado as a state, with one of the most highly educated populations in the country, ranks as one of the lowest states in terms of financially supporting education. Steamboat, however, has not been a part of that paradox, consistently voting favorably for the half-cent sales tax for education.

Sometimes it is hard to see the long-term effects of decisions. It is like tossing a pebble into a pond. Where will all of the ripples go? The decision by the Educational Fund Board to help with installing the artificial turf at Gardner Field was questioned by many as to whether it really fell under the umbrella of education. Having had the field for two years, I can truly say it has had a great impact on the educational programs at the high school.

Before we had the synthetic surface, we had years where we had no home games and no outside practices for spring sports. This meant more lost class time for student-athletes and myself as we were always on the road. It also meant that since our only practice facilities were the two gyms, we had some very late nights as all of the spring sports had to share our limited facilities. Now, with the ability to frequently practice on the turf, we can get kids home earlier. Even one night a week of getting out of practice at 6 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m. is an academic benefit to kids.

There have been many studies at the national level linking participation in high school athletics and activities with success in college and beyond. Kids who participate in co-curricular activities are much more successful in high school and in their post high school endeavors. The decision of the fund board to help with the turf field has generated a positive outcome for kids, both athletically and academically.

And so, we must once again decide whether or not to support the half-cent sales tax. Remember the pebble in the pond. The ripples keep spreading out. The plethora of programs supported by this money touches so many parts of our educational system. And, I believe that anything we can do to support our youth is a worthwhile endeavor. A half-cent sales tax seems a small price to pay when examining the long-term benefits. I urge you to vote in favor of 2A and 2B.

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Bob Hiester

Steamboat Springs High School math teacher and head boys

lacrosse coach