There are three specific Estes Park ballot issues on the November 2013 ballot. The first issue covered is the candidates for the Estes Park School District R-3 school board. The other two issues are Ballot Issue 3A (Estes Park School District R-3) and Ballot Issues 5A (Estes Valley Public Library District).
Estes Park School District R-3
There are five candidates for two 4-year term School Director at Large positions. The Estes Park Trail Gazette has an article about the candidates. Only two candidates have a party affiliation, while the other three are unaffiliated. Does that mean they don’t know what they stand for, or is it just that they prefer to keep their beliefs to themselves? Emails to the five candidates resulted in only one response, from Brian Brown. This could say a lot about how much interaction parents will get out of any who are elected.
All five of the candidates believe in Amendment 66, the Colorado School Funding bill.
One current fiscally conservative school board member believes Brian Brown and Tony Gittings would be the best to serve on the board.
In a small town, conflicts of interest are common, including Laura Case, who is married to a teacher, and Tony Gittings, who runs a fundraiser that is dependent on approval from the board.
One question to ask when voting for two of the five candidates is what do you want in a school board member? Common sense and real life experience, or university philosophies which could result in an experiment of ideas for our school system?
Brian Brown has lived in Estes Park for four years and has three children in the school system. The professional videographer would like to use crowd sourcing and crowd funding. He thinks declining enrollment can be overcome by “working smarter, not harder.”
Tony Gittings (R) runs the mattress fundraiser, not just for Estes Park, but in the Front Range.
Kristine L. Poppitz has multiple degrees and is self-employed, working in the real estate business, designing custom homes. She has a daughter, and moved to Estes five years ago. She has been the chair of the accountability committee at EP Elementary School for the past three years.
Laura Case (D) is an Estes Park High School graduate with two children. She has been back in the community for six years. She is a former teacher and hopes to bring an education point of view to the board, while working for the best interests of parents. In the EP Trail article, she said, “I’ve learned that we have to work together to get things done.”
Christie Adams has lived in Estes for 14 years and has three children. She has multiple teaching degrees, including a PhD in bilingual education. In the EP Trail article, she said, “I believe I have a lot of foresight on where education is going.”
Ballot Issue 3A: Estes Park School District R-3
Tax/mill levy: $750,000 annuall. If Ballot Issue 3A passes, it only takes effect if Amendment 66 (CO State initiative) does not pass.
Opinion: No. The Estes Park school district already has plenty in their budget and in reserve. If you vote to give the school more money, even as the district enrollment declines, they will just spend it, typically not at the classroom level. If this passes, it is (reportedly) the last time the School District can ask for a mill levy.
Ballot Issue 5A: Estes Valley Public Library District
Tax/mill levy: $415,000 per year. This equates to approximately $25 per owned property per year. The EP Trail article claims $16 of the $25 will “restore and secure library operations), while $9 adds new services.
Failure: If this initiative fails, the library must (starting in January), cut hours of service by one day per week and reduce staff. It will also cut children’s and adult programs.
Opinion: In August, the Library trustees considered abandoning this issue (EP Trail Gazette). If they weren’t sure they needed it just two months ago, why should we give them this “modest” amount of money to spend now? With more people getting books and doing research online, libraries will, unfortunately, begin to take a backseat and have to cut back.
If you missed the article on the Colorado State and Larimer County issues, please click here. Be sure to fill out your ballot and send it in.