On March 8 we will all be able to exercise one of the most important rights we have as American citizens ” the right to vote. We will be voting on an issue that our forefathers died for, the right to have a choice on how we are taxed.
This election will decide the fate of Measure A. Measure A is a bond measure that will give our local school district $3.5 million per year for the next seven years. This money will be used to further enhance the education of our kids. But will it?
In the past our school district has wasted millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money. The 04-05 Measure A budget shows that only 33 percent of the $2.8 million collected in the past actually benefits our children. Of that 33 percent only 10 percent gets spent on educational supplies. The remaining funds, which never get to our kids, are spent on maintenance, bus replacements, and mysterious categories such as “indirect cost” and “program 17.” These mysterious funds show potential evidence of misuse of funds.
Our local school district has a track record of misusing funds. Misuse of funds was brought to the district’s attention in the June 30, 2004 audit report. The report states that “internal procedures do not adequately safeguard the organization’s assets and reduce the risk of fraud abuse.”
If the school district has abused funds in the past, then they have the capability to do so in the future. In future years less and less money will actually get to our kids.
This upcoming election will also raise the amount the taxpayers will be charged from $80 to $98 per year. This is a lot of money. Can you think of something better this money can be spent on? Only $36 will actually get to the kids. Is it really worth it? I don’t think so. Perhaps property owners could donate $98 directly to one of the school district programs they value.
Remember these facts when you’re at the polls exercising the most important right you have as an American citizen. Decide whether you want to be taxed $3.5 million and have most of it lost before it ever gets to the place where it was intended to go.
There are few people who, upon recalling their childhood education, will remember fondly standard curriculum subjects. We’re more likely to remember courses that brought color to our lives.
My fondest memories are from Lillian Farr’s fifth grade class. Mrs. Farr infused her curriculum with stories of old Tahoe, of her father Judge Vernon, and of Dat-So-La-Lee, the Washoe basket weaver. We learned trees and shrubs, animals, and geology of the Tahoe Basin. All the while, she wove into her lessons the standards of the day, and they stuck. Times have changed. Suffice it to say, Mrs. Farr’s approach would likely not survive today’s standardized testing environment.
Why vote for Measure A? Whether or not we have children, we were all children once and were afforded an education that gave us an opportunity to learn under a more expansive system than today.
Shouldn’t our current tax structure continue to offer the curriculum we enjoyed?
Possibly. But while we argue the case, how many children should we let pass with an insubstantial education? I’d argue, “None.” No child should be denied access to her fullest potential. Measure A will keep important elements of a healthy education: textbooks, instructional materials, libraries, physical education, computer labs, and music classes.
Let the measure fail and we allow education to be reduced to a skeletal framework ” the bare bones. I’ve never seen a skeleton that showed much life.
Let’s not forget that these children are our future leaders, parents and teachers. They shouldn’t be ill equipped to face the demands of their future. In this increasingly complex world we need more than the basics.
Each passing generation finds its way to center stage, supplanting that which strode before it. As we edge to the wings, I find it comforting to know that those who will care for me in my old age will be as lucid and well informed as possible. I’ll feel confident knowing that we, by good example, taught our youth to teach theirs in turn.
Join me on March 8 in voting yes on Measure A.
Mary Rose Collins
Creekside Magnet School
If your child is not yet in the public school system, you may think that Measure A doesn’t affect you. Nothing could be further from the truth. If this important measure passes on March 8, it will stay in effect until June 2012, and your preschooler stands to benefit greatly from the $3.2 million a year that Measure A generates for our school district. If your preschooler enters kindergarten in September 2006, Measure A will benefit your child through the fifth grade.
Consider these examples of what your child might experience without Measure A:
– During class your daughter develops a rash and a fever. There is no nurse to evaluate her symptoms or care for her.
– Your son is dyslexic and needs extra help in reading, but class size has increased, leaving the teacher with less time to spend with individual students. Your son falls behind in reading.
– Your daughter’s class is learning about motion and simple machines ” her first introduction to physics. In previous years the children built moving models and pulleys, but there is no longer money for these supplies.
– Your son loves music and is interested in playing an instrument, but there are no instruments, no music teacher, and no music class.
– A boy in your daughter’s class is having behavioral problems due to his parent’s divorce. There is no school counselor to help him through this experience and he acts out in class, disrupting other students.
– Your son loves art and shows a real talent for it, but there is no longer an art teacher and no money for art supplies except crayons.
These are just some of the ways that your elementary-aged child could be affected if Measure A doesn’t pass. In the higher grade levels, students would be just as severely affected when programs, instructors and equipment for band, computer, advanced classes, PE and libraries get reduced or eliminated.
Measure A makes the difference between a bare-bones educational experience and one that is interesting, exciting, and full of enriching programs and activities. Please vote yes on Measure A.
Linda Lindsay, Lynn Akers, Carol Meagher, Jenni Dewald, Kim Shacter, and Kris Norris
At the last Truckee Town Council meeting on Feb. 17, council member Josh Susman apparently thought he was being clever when he rudely interrupted me as I was trying to address the council. Fortunately, Mayor Threshie took control of the situation and shut him up. Only a short while earlier, Mr. Susman had opened his mouth again to utter a horrible gaffe, to the effect that it was a good idea to increase trolley fares for senior citizens because they would be incapable of noticing the difference.
Obviously, Mr. Susman needs to work on keeping his mouth shut. He would do well to remember that his position on the council is not a “mandate of the people.”
Should Mr. Susman run for yet another term, I can only hope that the voters will be as “rude” to him as he was to me, and “interrupt” his political career.
I have a bit of an odd letter here. I am looking for two snowboards I had when I lived out there a few years back. While I would love to get them both back, one means a lot to me. I sold these boards at a little snowboard shop in Truckee between the railroad tracks and the river. One was a Burton PJ5.4 with a sticker on it reading Mary.
The other board is a 173 cm Rossignol Throttle race board that is red with a sticker on the nose reading Jack. If anyone has these boards or one of them or you know where they are, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell phone (603) 455-3112.
The stickers are my grandparents names and the boards have no value except sentimental. It would mean a lot.