Deirdre Boyd: Let’s avoid a scary future for our schools
It’s Halloween, so imagine a scary prospect—Steamboat in 10 years with the same old, overcrowded buildings, 40 students to a class, more modulars, no place to park. The teachers are untrained and emotionally detached, and kids are stuck onto computers to fend for themselves.
It’s not what we want, but it’s where we are heading if we don’t invest now. Our students need and deserve better. It is on us, the adults, to step up and take action on their behalf. We have failed the younger generations in so many ways, but we can at least support them in this, and get them the schools and teachers that they need now by voting “yes” on 4A, 4B and 4C.
If we believe that highly trained, qualified and motivated teachers are crucial to a community, we must invest in our educators. As older teachers retire, younger teachers cannot afford housing in this valley. We will soon be a beautiful town with no teachers — or first responders, health care professionals or any other of the people upon whom we rely for the services that we take for granted.
Our teachers are experts in their fields, and most hold one or more graduate degrees, yet are earning well below average in this thriving community, often taking out loans just to pay bills. 4A will be an important first step in helping the district to start moving salaries closer to the cost of living.
4A is also for support staff — the bus drivers, custodians, office and food service staff who also educate, care for and interact with our kids every day. Support staff ensure that those schoolhouse doors are open every day, that the students arrive safely, buildings are clean and safe, food is served and every single phone call, permission slip, schedule, budget, crisis and celebration is managed. They deserve a living wage.
There has been negative press about administration receiving 4A money. With so much focus on raises at the district office, we forget that administration includes our incredibly hardworking building administrators — principals, etc. — whose vision and leadership is indispensable. The district bargaining team, comprised of teachers, support staff and administration, will collaboratively decide how the 4A money will be allocated among employees.
Let’s never allow our schools to descend into that nightmare scenario. Let’s come together as a community and do the right thing for our students. Please listen. Please vote “yes” for 4A, 4B and 4C.
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