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Support public education by voting for Amendment 73, 5A/B
As a former financial analyst, business executive, and public school teacher and principal, I am blessed with multiple perspectives on school funding.  
Before us are Colorado Amendment 73 and Jeffco Ballot Questions 5A and 5B, which are asking for more funding for public schools.
Our state funding for education, adjusted for regional cost differences, is 42nd, way below the national average, let alone where it should be for the 14th richest state. We rank 50th in teacher wage competitiveness. Amendment 73 gets us closer to where we should be. If you only vote for one funding initiative, choose that one.
That said, the responsibility for funding schools has increasingly shifted to local communities. In Jeffco, we have passed only one mill/bond initiative since 2004 and none in the last six years, while other communities all around the metro area have approved funding measures recently.
Having worked in multiple roles inside Jeffco Schools for 20 years, I’ve seen first-hand how funds are used responsibly, administrative expenses and salaries are low compared with similarly-sized organizations, and teachers make enormous sacrifices financially and emotionally on behalf of students. We owe it to the future of our community to support reasonable funding measures.
Jefferson believed that “an educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” Let’s all make a modest sacrifice to fund our public schools properly. Please vote yes on Amendment 73 and ballot questions 5A and 5B.
Ian Stone

Support for well-funded public school system
Recent letters written by Maureen Sielaff and Eric Smith state that Jeffco voters want to ensure fair salaries for teachers yet want assurances that the money from their increased taxes for the Jeffco Schools mill-levy question 5A will not be spent on administrators.
The answer is in the voter Ballot Information Booklets that were mailed in September. These booklets have the full legal text of the ballot questions, including the pros and cons of the measures.
The mill levy language states some restrictions and accountability provisions. These are:
• No revenue … will be used for senior district administration;
• The spending … will be reviewed by the citizens financial oversight advisory committee; and
• The funds are subjected to an annual independent audit.
Measure 5A also explicitly states its purpose:
• Expanding programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and in career/technical education;
• Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers by ensuring the district is competitive in compensation and benefits for teachers and staff;
• Improving student safety by increasing mental health and counseling professionals to improve student mental health services, including suicide prevention and substance abuse counseling;
• Updating aged and outdated instructional resources such as books, supplies, and technology; and
• Increasing early education programs.
Similarly, the bond issue, measure 5B, is to provide Jeffco with safe learning environments to prepare students for college and the workforce. The ballot language again specifies and limits its purposes, including among others, building additional career/technical education facilities and the preference for hiring local contractors.
Please take the time to read the complete text for the Jeffco Schools bond and mill levy for yourself. If you did not receive a voter Ballot Information Booklet or have misplaced yours, voting information is available at any Jeffco public library.
Soon you can expect to receive your mail-in ballots, which may be several pages long, so please take the time to examine your entire ballot carefully.
I am a retired Jeffco teacher with a limited income and no longer have a child in Jeffco schools as both my sons have already graduated, and I will be voting yes for 5A and 5B.
I believe that supporting a well-funded public school system will help strengthen our great county with an educated populace. Great care went into creating the restrictions and accountability measures so that the Jeffco community will have assurances that the money is spent as promised.
Gail Kramer