‘All children have special needs’
As the former superintendent of two Colorado school districts, Boulder and Jeffco, I suppose it is not surprising that I am a supporter of Amendment 73, which supports our school districts in meeting the mission to educate all of our children.
Yes, of course, I am supporting the amendment, however, today I want to speak with my heart and talk about why additional funding should matter to all of us. When I think about funding, I think about two children whom I love. One is very bright but finds school and learning a constant challenge. He has special needs that require small classes and highly trained teachers. Because his parents are able to provide for him, he will be successful. On the other hand, another child in my family is able to take advantage of all the extra activities schools offer. She is engaged in theater, in dance, in clubs, and in challenging academics. For me, these two children represent the children in Colorado.
Both of these children are loved by an extended family and both have needs in school. The reason I am speaking about them is that they represent all the children in Colorado today. All children have special needs. All children deserve the best we can give. Giving the best requires financial support for every system and every child. Yet, in Colorado, while we say we love our children, we fund their education at $2,800 below the national average in educational funding.
Like you, I have read the allegations that the money will go to administration and not to the classroom. Speaking as a veteran of school districts, I can assure you that our districts are not overstaffed with administrators. In fact, no business would function the way we do in education. Our administrators can supervise up to 50 people. I have never seen a business with that type of ratio. Yes, administrative staff members play important roles in leading and managing our systems. At the same time, teachers are the heart of our business. We need funding to have highly paid, trained teachers with our children.
Only through excellence will all of our children be successful. Excellence has a price tag. Let’s make a dent in that price tag and vote yes on Amendment 73.
Tell payday lenders enough is enough
I served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008 until 2012. Based on my experiences working with military personnel, I have a firsthand understanding of the payday lending debt trap and the impact it has on young families.
It is no coincidence that predatory payday lenders often have locations in close proximity to military bases. Lenders know that young service members make very little money and are not necessarily astute when it comes to managing their finances. The payday lending industry is full of unscrupulous and selfish people preying on individuals with interest rates that would make a loan shark blush. The aggressive collections practices cause damage and stress to a young family.
The Department of Defense took significant action to address the payday lending crisis in the military. In August of 2006, the Pentagon reported to Congress that “…predatory lending undermines military readiness, harms the morale of troops and their families, and adds to the cost of fielding an all-volunteer fighting force.”
This resulted in the Military Lending Act of 2007 that had broad bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Bush. Like Proposition 111, the Military Lending Act set a 36 percent limit on loans. While this law had a dramatic impact on the payday lending crisis for active-duty military families, veterans are not protected and therefore still subject to being exploited by payday lenders’ 200 percent interest rates in Colorado.
Colorado should stand up to payday lenders and tell them enough is enough. The young men and women who serve our country have enough challenges; being the targets of unethical lenders should not be one of them. If you truly want to honor the men and women who serve this great country, don’t just thank them for their service; vote yes on Proposition 111.
When ballot issues collide
If Prop. 112 (a.k.a prohibitive setbacks for oil well drilling), Amendment 73 (a.k.a. an enormous tax increase), and Amendment 74 (a.k.a. a protection from government takings) all pass, might not all the ill-gotten gains of 73 have to go to reimbursing the victims of Prop. 112?
Wouldn’t that very-possible scenario then leave the schools with nothing, or even less than nothing, and Colorado’s taxpayers permanently on the hook for the financial consequences of their folly? Not that the schools are actually guaranteed anything from 73 as written.
When multiple ballot measures sound too good to be true, shouldn’t all Colorado voters act on that premise and wisely vote NO across the board?
Russell W. HaasGolden
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