Thoughtful Parenting: Group endorses Referendum 3C |

Thoughtful Parenting: Group endorses Referendum 3C

Katherine Gibbs/For Steamboat Today
Thoughtful Parenting First Impressions

First Impressions of Routt County, the Early Childhood Education Council, endorse the Steamboat Springs School District RE-2 Referendum 3C, which requests funding for full-day kindergarten.

Please vote “yes” on 3C to acknowledge the importance of every child in Steamboat being able to attend a full day dindergarten program, regardless of his or her parents’ income level.

According to the Notice of Election Pamphlet, page 21, if Referendum 3C passes, it will increase a homeowner’s property tax bill annually by $23.95 for a $500,000 home (less than 7 cents per day) or $87.25 annually for a $500,000 commercial property (only 23 cents per day).

Seven or 23 cents a day is a small price to pay to help educate nearly 200 kindergarten students annually in Steamboat.

The pamphlet further states: “In 20 years, the Steamboat Springs School District has risen to the top 1 percent in the state, academically, while our local property tax impact has remained in the lowest third of the 178 Colorado School Districts. The Steamboat Springs School District has proven a responsible steward of our tax dollars, even through challenges, state funding cuts and difficult deferred maintenance decisions. It is time to stabilize this important program.”

Members of the First Impressions Council overwhelmingly support stabilizing funding for full-day kindergarten programs. Other voters statewide also appear to believe that early childhood education is an extremely important topic. According to the First Five Years Fund Poll, administered in July 2016, 500 voters indicated that two out of three of the top issues facing Coloradans (rated as extremely or very important) involved educating children.

The first issue involved improving the quality of public education, 83 percent of voters; the second involved controlling the cost of health care, 83 percent; and the third issue involved making sure our children get a strong start in life through quality early childhood education, 80 percent.

Full-day kindergarten is important to help ready children for their academic future. According to a Steamboat Springs School District administrator, 61 percent of our current 5-year-old children were academically ready for kindergarten, according to their test scores on the Dibbles reading assessment.

Yet, 39 percent of these children were not ready for kindergarten and, thus, will need strong pre-academic support to help them keep up with their peers later in life.

The best way to provide strong pre-academic support is to have these children attend enriched academic environments: kindergarten.

The children who struggled on the Dibbles assessment are the children who need fully funded full-day kindergarten.

We need to value every child in Steamboat and provide all with opportunities to meet their full potential. Did you know that 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs within the first five years of life?

Let’s give these 5 year olds a better chance in life by voting “yes” on 3C. Vote, and vote early!

Dr. Katherine Gibbs, is a licensed psychologist.

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