More claptrap about Summit County Schools

The most recent nonsense comes in the form of a “letter to the editor” at the Summit Daily News on 10/20/10. This lady must be reading from the “talking points” bulletin put out by the Summit County School District. Here they are…

  • a no-brainer
  • vote yes to keep quality teachers and programs
  • promoting a healthy economy
  • diverse, creative and adaptable workforce
  • math whizzes, etc.
  • schools have tightened their belts over and over, no room to tighten further
  • need schools with programs as diverse….world economy
  • will not raise taxes

If it’s such a “no-brainer” then why all the letters imploring people to vote yes on 3B? Where will the teachers work and what quality programs will be cut if Summit County taxpayers vote no on 3B? Who are these “math wizards” and if we vote no on 3B are there no longer enough wizards to  “maintain the greatest workforce in the world? Wasn’t there a community budget meeting a few months ago that came up with all sorts of belt tightening ideas? Or, was that just window dressing to placate the sheeple?  What diverse programs are there at the Summit County School District that meet “the demands of the current, sometimes crazy, world economy”? A yes vote on 3B is in fact a tax increase – in perpetuity.

Vote No on 3B.

Categories: Summit County Taxes

Summit Schools – another miss

As the Summit Daily News reported on 10/18, the “Summit County Schools don’t hit FAILED their  “adequate yearly progress (AYP) ” goals. It’s a good thing the State of Colorado tracks this stuff, because with all the excuses  and finger pointing proffered by the school district, would the citizens of Summit County every know that they are being hoodwinked?


Not sure I understand everything in the article nor I am sure that it is 100% accurate from a reporting perspective, but let’s look at the some of the details in this article.


1. In Paragraph 1 the district notes that despite FAILING AYP, “progress” has been made. Great! Sounds like they FAILED in fewer areas than before.


2. Paragraph 3 – “met 89 of 101” targets which is “not up to par” – 88% of targets met is pretty good and “above average” in my mind. However, the state says “not up to par”? What does that mean exactly? Is that the best language the state uses to describe 88%. Or, do they use the word “fail” or “inadequate”. Sounds like slopping reporting or whitewash to me.


3. Paragraph 4 – “district not meeting AYP means that at least one school didn’t make the grade”….”problem areas are with a high population of socio-economically disadvantaged” – this is where the blame game starts. It’s set’s up the reader to expect that “socio-economically disadvantaged” students are not capable of learning or that they are the reason the school district did not meet AYP.


4. Paragraph 5 – “…elementary and high school students did not meet AYP” – more blame, this time on elementary and high school students. It is NOT the school district’s fault if the students don’t meet the standards.


5. Paragraph 7 – “…problem areas were minority subsets” – more blame.


6. Paragraph 10 – “62% of Colorado Schools made AYP” – That puts the Summit School District in the bottom 40% of Colorado Schools when it comes to making AYP.


7. Paragraphs 12-14 – Basically this is just more of the same rhetoric focused on blaming hispanic students, ELL learners, the poor, immigrants, etc.


8. Paragraph 16 – “The goal is for every student to access and learn the same curriculum at the same time.” – Let me rephrase this for you – “Advanced learners will be held back, their progress will be slowed so as to allow the slow learners to catch up”. Citizens of Summit County, parents of children in the Summit County School District, Summit County Taxpayers….DO YOU GET THE POWER OF THIS STATEMENT from our administration? Do you realize that IB discourages the seperation of students based on ability levels?


9. Paragraph 17 – “The district continues to hold high expectations for all of our students…we know that through classroom instruction that models best practices and continues to focus on differentiating to meet the needs of every student, we will continue to see great progress and achievement in all academic areas.” – Millie must have been looking at a chart showing teacher pay raises over the last 3 years when she wrote this garbage about “great progress”. After looking at the AYP scorecard, it leaves me wondering when those “best practices” will make their way into the Summit School District.


I wish I had time to parse through the rest of the article. So let me finish by saying that the citizens of Summit County need to hold our school district to higher standards. It is not enough to throw money at the problem when it should be clear that having that money in the past has not produced the results that we as a community deserve. Furthermore, blaming our students for not meeting state standards is an unacceptable position to take on the part of our administration.

“Giving up” on kids in Summit County

Jennifer and Shawn McAtamney think Summit County taxpayers who vote “no” on 3B are “giving up” on our kids. This is the latest attempt at shaming people into voting yes on 3B. After all, who among us Summit County taxpayers wants to be labeled as a quitter? It’s hard to find a more cliché ridden letter to the editor this tax season….”recruit and retain high quality teachers” – maybe some of them are planning on leaving for all those other open teaching positions around the state and country?;  “maintain instructional programs” – perhaps we should eliminate some instructional programs? Can anyone say IB? “tools they need to compete in the global economy” – our district has trouble meeting state expectations for improvement, maybe we should be more concerned with that?

Voting “no” on 3B is not giving up on your kids.

Pay raises in Breckenridge

Gotta love it when your town/community wants to raise wages in the face of declining revenues and requests for tax increases. Now some may say that 3% is not a lot of money. And, they would mostly be correct. However, when you are asking the community for more money (since you supposedly don’t have it), then why increase wages. Doesn’t that make the tax increases for “marketing” a tax increase for paying higher wages. “Disingenuous” comes to mind….

Categories: Uncategorized

Keystone Parkway “needs” upgrade

I keep wondering when “leaders” like the Chair of Citizens for Keystone Parkway Public Improvement District will understand the difference between a “need” and a “want”. If you can’t get the grown-ups to understand this difference, how are the kids supposed to get it? Let’s look at the fluff in this guest commentary from the 10/10/10 Summit Daily News.

1. “Our” Keystone Parkway… had it’s glory days…”. Wow, this gateway had “glory days”?! And note the attempt to give us ownership in this gateway with the use of the word “our”. How funny.

2. “Most other neighboring communities outshine us”. Seriously, because of a parkway?

3. “PID’s have been successful in all parts of the US…”. Proof positive that this PID will be successful if you ask me. And certainly there have never been any failures or the chair would have noted them. Please do define success in your next commentary.

4. “Your taxes will actually drop in Keystone even if…”. Yeah, but won’t they drop even more if this gets voted down? A minor omission.

5. “…enhance the Keystone experience with a “colorful and memorable” entrance…”. Now I like this. Reminds me of my trips to Disneyland with Mickey waving at you as you come into the resort – special. Maybe since they are getting bids at 20-50% less than 1-2 years ago they are just going to build a small amusement park on the median – kind of like a Cedar Point thing.

6. “…promotes being greener and safer”. Almost missed these top selling points – what with global warming and all. Oh, and how many people have been injured/killed on that stretch of the road through Keystone?

7. “…Curb Appeal”. We must be getting to the end of the commentary…


8. “…help retain or improve property values…”. Notice the LACK OF ANY PROOF whatsoever with this statement. But of course, you are disengenous to believe otherwise. Let’s be perfectly clear – this is pure speculation that improving the medians would add any value to properties in Keystone. In fact, increasing taxes (which is an expense) will most likely reduce property values. All Keystone property owners would be better off improving the appearance of their own residences and yards before spending money on this pork.


9. “It is time the citizens of Keystone take a positive stand for their community”. It is clear that up until this point in time – this vote on this issue, Keystone citizens have been a bunch of negative ninnies.


10. “Keystone should once again be the jewel of Summit County”. Ahh, the final Call to Arms, rally the troops for the common good, gimme a “K”. This group is delusional if they think a spiffy median is going to make Keystone the jewel of Summit County. I like Keystone just the way it is.

Citizens for Strong Summit Schools resorts to “guilt-tripping”

Some days it’s fearmongering, other days it’s laying a guilt trip on the Summit County taxpayer. Let’s take a look at the Guest Commentary from Sue Wilcox, Chair for Citizens for Strong Summit Schools in the 10/3/10 Summit Daily News.

First, “…teacher and administrator salaries have been frozen…decisions are difficult, and no doubt mirror cuts that have been made by many families and businesses throughout the county”. Nope. I believe that a salary “freeze” is not what most Summit County citizens and businesses have experienced. I believe that they have seen their sales reduced and their wages and/or benefits cut, and in some cases eliminated.

Second, “…it is incumbent upon each of us as parents to bear our share of costs associated with educating our kids.” How dare this organization suggest that parents/taxpayers don’t already “bear our share”?! So, if I pay my taxes I don’t already “bear my share of the costs”? And if Summit County taxpayers vote no on 3B, we somehow have tried to evade our collective responsibility for educating our children. What hogwash!

My suggestion is this: Cut salaries and eliminate any/all taxpayer contributions for benefits for administrators and teachers. When the people steering this ship feel the pain experienced by the vast majority of Summit County taxpayers, then let’s talk. Until then, VOTE NO on 3B.

2D an economic must for Breckenridge?

So, why is 2D a must? First it’s not a tax on locals. I feel better now. Tax the s@*% of those gapers! That will get them to come back for more.

Second, the Breckenridge Lodging Association supports 2D. Count me in, then. They know best.

Third, 2D can help revitalize our real estate industry. Wow! That’s a stretch. Lower prices generally cause people to buy more but don’t taxes increase prices? And when the gapers get here and say “Holy crap, it’s everything is so expensive….., do you really think they are going to buy real estate?

Fourth, our way of life is dependent on tourism. Every recreational amenity….requires tourist tax dollars…”. Correct, and when the tourist arrives with say, $2,000 to spend and $200 of that goes to taxes, it means that they won’t spend that money on a dinner (for 2 because of taxes). Make no mistake, TAXES SIPHON OFF DISPOSABLE INCOME – IT GOES TO THE GOVERNMENT, NOT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS.

Fifth, 2D will make us more competitive with Vail and Aspen. Wrong! Higher prices do not make a “business” (the town) more competitive. Lower prices do. Vail and Aspen will not “prevail” because of higher prices and higher taxes. In fact, over the long run, people will see the value that Breckenridge has to offer because of lower taxes which result in lower prices.

Six-Twenty – wish I had time to visit but the arguments for a “yes” vote can’t be any better than 1-5.
Instead of a tax increase, how about a free weekend at Grand Timber Lodge to get more visitors?