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Outreach appreciated

I am writing in response to the March 22 column by Lesley Dahlkemper, titled "We all have a role in supporting education."

I want to say how much I appreciate the continued willingness of the Jeffco School Board and Jeffco schools administration to solicit community input by hosting budget forums and community conversations across the district to discuss the future of our schools. I attended the Jan. 28 budget forum at Evergreen High School. It was clear during that forum that the community felt the following were important to protect for the coming years in our schools: teaching positions (to maintain smaller class sizes), the elementary music program, Outdoor Lab, teacher librarians, and teacher salaries.

I honestly cannot fathom the idea that my children may not continue to receive music education during their remaining elementary school years or get to go to Outdoor Lab, which has been a blessing for sixth-grade and high school students in Jeffco for more than 50 years.

I find it appalling that our students receive $700 less per student than they did in 2009. For my daughters' school, that amounts to $280,000 less per year that our teachers and staff have to ensure our kids continue to receive the quality education they're accustomed to and deserve.

I am so grateful to Jeffco school district employees for doing all they could to keep the cuts from affecting the students in the classroom, including the significant reduction in compensation they have sacrificed. District employees have shouldered this burden on their own long enough. I'm concerned that principals and teachers will look elsewhere for more gainful employment if we, the voters, don't show them that we value education and their contribution to the future of our nation. If the United States is to be a leader in the world, we all need to invest in education — our children are our nation's future. It's time for Jeffco voters to show that we want our district to have the funding necessary to ensure the continued level of excellence we have come to expect in Jeffco.

Tina Gurdikian
April 12, 2012

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