Letter to the Editor: On mill levy for Meeker schools

Dear Editor:
This fall, voters in Meeker will be asked to decide whether to increase our property taxes to fund our schools. This mill levy increase will generate around $900,000 to use in our classrooms.

Because of how the State of Colorado currently chooses to finance schools, we have very little control over how we use much of the money generated in Rio Blanco County. This small tax increase is the only way we get to give money directly to our kids.
If the mill levy override passes, the voters in Rio Blanco County who own a home worth $100,000 will pay approximately $8 more each year; businesses with a value of $200,000 will pay about $55 more. Our local energy companies, which are always tremendous supporters of our schools, will fund 90 percent of this increase.
In 2009, when our oldest son was in first grade, the economy was still strong. His first grade classroom had 13-15 students. In fact, each grade at Meeker Elementary had three sections, and individual instruction made a huge difference for many kids.
Last year, we had another first grader. She got to have the same teacher as her big brother, but so did 22 other students! Teachers are not actually superhuman, and you don’t even have to be great at math in order to divide the number of hours in a day by the number of students in a classroom. We need this funding increase so we can hire teachers to reduce class sizes in our schools and restore some of the programs we’ve lost,
The best way to support this funding increase is to register to vote! It takes about 10 minutes at www.govotecolorado.com or you can visit the Rio Blanco County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in Meeker. Then, start talking to your friends and neighbors about how the cuts we’ve had to make have impacted your children and grandchildren. Together, let’s decide that no matter what our differences, our children are always worth it.
Natosha Clatterbaugh