Our View: Vote ‘yes’ on 4A | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Vote ‘yes’ on 4A

Steamboat Springs prides itself on a high quality education system, which routinely ranks in the top 10 of Colorado public schools. As teachers are the ones working closely with students to achieve that top ranking, we believe they deserve to be fairly compensated for their hard work and dedication, and that is why we are endorsing 4A.

The demands of teaching these days require teachers to get to school early and stay late. They often pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, all on a salary that is among the lowest of comparable resort town districts in a city with the fourth highest cost of living in Colorado.

By passing 4A, voters will help ensure Steamboat is able to retain its quality teaching staff as the cost of living here continues to rise. The increase in operating funds that will be generated by the 2-mill property tax — estimated at $1.2 million in 2020 — will allow the district to provide its teaching staff with more competitive salaries and benefits, which in turn, could help more Steamboat teachers afford to live where they teach.

And should 4B and 4C (a bond issue for a new school plus improvements to existing campuses and an accompanying mill levy) fail at the polls, we think the promise of higher compensation offered by the passage of 4A could incentivize teachers to continue teaching in crowded schools until the district is able to come up with another plan to solve its capacity issues.

As with 4B and 4C, we don’t think 4A is the perfect proposal. We would have preferred the salary increases were limited to teachers only, and we hope, during the collective bargaining process, teachers will have their salaries boosted at a greater percentage than administrators, who we believe, by comparison, are fairly compensated.

We would also have liked to see the tax modeled after the education fund sales tax issue, which included a 10-year sunset clause. This would have given voters an opportunity to make sure the tax revenue earmarked for increased salaries was being spent appropriately and teacher retention was being positively impacted by the salary adjustments.

At a glance

At issue: Steamboat Springs School District voters are being asked to approve Referendum 4A, a two-mill property tax levy to provide wage and benefit increases for teachers and staff.

Our View: Teachers most directly impact our children’s education, and we believe increased pay will help the district attract and retain quality staff.

Editorial Board

  • Logan Molen, publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Michael Marchand, community representative
  • Jim Beers, community representative

Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.

 

In the end, we believe the positives of the proposed tax far outweigh the negatives.

Each member of the Editorial Board could name teachers who impacted our lives, and we view 4A as an investment in the people who have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of our youth. This proposal gives the school district the means to continue attracting and retaining the best and brightest to serve our students, which in turn has an overall positive impact on the entire community.


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