The St. Vrain Valley School District needs a mill levy override this November, and in my opinion approval of Ballot Issue 3A is more important than our vote for president.
Why? Providing quality public schools is a local responsibility. It’s up to us to pay for it. We will not be rescued by the federal government, especially by either presidential candidate no matter what the two men may promise. The state budget has been balanced, with not a dime to spare, by cutting funding to local school districts. Funding education is a national problem; virtually all 50 states are running a deficit and have chosen to cut education to balance their budgets. So Colorado is not unique, the St. Vrain Valley School District is not unique.
Rightfully, you may ask questions and raise arguments: Where did the money go? Why don’t they cut administration? I’m a senior on fixed income and can’t pay several dollars more a month. Teachers get a big pension and I live on Social Security. These arguments are familiar but they are aimed at the wrong institution. The overwhelming bulk of taxes goes for entitlements—benefits coming back to us in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and national defense to fund two wars at a cost of One Trillion dollars since 2001. Administration has been cut, and cut, and cut. Teachers do not get Social Security and their PERA retirement plan has been adjusted so they pay more and get less.
It is imperative that we understand there is a loud minority claiming public education must be privatized. Some in this group have a political agenda couched in conspiracy and myth. Don’t buy what they are trying to sell.
Recent letters and guest opinions on this page assert President Obama is a socialist with an agenda to turn America into a socialist dictatorship. Worse, one radical writer claims our schools have been educating socialists for decades, people now ready to take control of our government if the president is re-elected.
These writers hope their blatant falsehoods will divert your attention onto some ridiculous accusation you can blame for your misfortune. Where do they get this stuff? It’s everywhere. If it’s on a screen or in print, the propagandists hope someone will believe it must be true. In reality it is not. We have been fed a steady diet of tripe, garbage, lies, myths and conspiracies because ideologues know their putridia will strike a nerve somewhere, anywhere.
Please keep your eye on the ball. I know many people in Longmont; they are my friends and neighbors. And not a single one is a socialist just waiting to take over the government. But for your peace of mind, retrieve the September 30 issue of “Parade” magazine from your recycle bin and take Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s citizenship test. Pay close attention to question 3, “What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?” First of all, recall why the framers insisted on multiple checks and balances, and why there are three branches and that power is divided among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our national government.
Writers and political ideologues pedaling socialist conspiracies are counting on your ignoring what is spelled out clearly in the Constitution. So read it. Satisfy your curiosity and doubt and consider the naysayers’ arguments for what they really are: desperate efforts to win an election by twisting the truth.
Never did I imagine the flip side of the education coin would be the warfare state. Heads you win and go to school; tails you lose and go to war half-way around the world. You can’t put a price tag on freedom. Education is our best defense, and simultaneously, our best offense.