Jim Loughran: Importance of approving 3A

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— To the editor:

For 75 years, my family has been educated in Moffat County schools. For the past 27 years, I have been a teacher, coach, dean, groundskeeper and athletic director for the Moffat County School District. It has been a pleasure to be part of a quality educational system. However, we are at a crossroads, and the time has come when we must, as a community, take steps to ensure that the quality of education in Moffat County schools continues in a positive direction during the 21st century.

Our schools are in desperate need of repair. The school board and administration have tried to maintain our present facilities up to this point, but due to the age of our buildings and past governmental decisions on school finance, this becomes more and more difficult.

The high school is an example of one facility that needs immediate upgrades to the heating and ventilation system. Some of the rooms are so cold - 58 degrees - that teachers have purchased electric heaters to take the chill off. This is not conducive to student learning. Students complain about the air exchange system blowing cold air instead of warm air. This is due to an inefficient heating and ventilation system that is now 27 years old.

In addition, what was once a very modern and up-to-date technology infrastructure has fallen behind dramatically. Our science teachers cannot fully implement their newly purchased curriculum because our computers are outdated and won't read the DVDs or run new software. We live in a computer age that is constantly changing. The school district must have the financial resources to modernize technology. If we don't, it is our kids who end up getting short-changed.

In my new career, I am required to visit more than 100 schools in Colorado and Wyoming. It is hard to believe the inequity in funding throughout the state. When visiting Chatfield High School, I saw the result of a $32 million renovation for just the high school and think that Moffat County School District is asking for $29.5 million to upgrade all schools and build a new middle school. We can't wait for our state leaders to provide the needed revenue to improve our schools. It is our responsibility to make sure that our schools are ready to be successful in the 21st century.

My last thought is about the security of our schools. Last year at this time, as I traveled past Platte Canyon High School, I saw all trees near the school had yellow ribbons in memory of Emily Keyes. We can never stop such tragedies, but it is our duty to take every precaution to make sure that our schools are as safe as we can make them. Let's make sure we provide the necessary revenue for Moffat County Schools to be safe in every way. Vote for 3A.

Jim Loughran

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