To the Editor:
First, we want to thank you for your endorsement of us for re-election to the Colorado Springs School District 11 school board. Second, however, we want to emphasize that we don't understand why you didn't endorse Shawn Yocum-Alford, a person who voted consistently with us on several key policy issues and a person who, along with us, has worked tirelessly on behalf of all students in D-11.
We wish to add that Shawn's work to set policy geared toward increasing student achievement has been most successful. Specifically, she has worked with the principals at Hunt and Adams elementary schools to facilitate and encourage bold new steps within their educational programs.
-- Bruce L. Doyle
Wherefore the Independent's agenda?
To the Editor:
We are utterly amazed and saddened by the Independent's treatment of election issues in School District 11.
First, you urge voters to oppose the Districts-mill-levy issue based upon your view that it is too heavily weighted in favor of technology and testing. You take this stand despite knowing how desperately the district needs additional funding; despite knowing that the state, not the district, has imposed the bulk of testing requirements; and despite the fact that voters approved the district's move into technology with their passage of the 1996 bond issue. You are apparently willing to have class sizes increase, have programs cut and have students receive less of what they need simply because you disagree with the issue's finer points.
Second, your recommendation of Bill Jambura and Delia Armstrong-Busby -- and non-endorsement of Waynette Rand and Shawn Yocum-Alford -- is completely inexplicable. Armstrong-Busby and Jambura support vouchers, having our tax dollars go to private and parochial schools; both support teaching creationism and evolution on the same footing; Jambura believes that high- school students should not be exposed to discussion of any controversial social issue "until they go to college" (what of the many high school students who do not go on to college or who will be asked to vote in this year's election?); and Jambura believes that principals should have the unfettered discretion to hire and fire teachers, eliminating all rights to due process.
How can the Independent, which portrays itself as a champion of public education, employee rights and academic freedom, support someone like Bill Jambura over one with a rich history of public service and activism, like Shawn Yocum-Alford? Even The Denver Post, which does not have the luxury of being a local paper, understood in its endorsements that Waynette Rand, Shawn Yocum-Alford, Bruce Doyle and Lyman Kaiser are the best candidates for election to the School Board and that the mill-levy issue should be approved.
Have you become so careless with or callous to the facts that you could make such a blatant error in judgment? Or have you changed your editorial stance to such an extreme that you now support vouchers, the teaching of creationism as a science and the de-funding of our public schools? If the latter is the case, please let us know so that in the future we can save time by just reading the Gazette.
-- Kathy Glasmann, president
Daniel Koen, director
Colorado Springs Education Association
For an explanation of our position on the D-11 mill levy, see this issues's editorial and cover story. We do not consider our position to be mere quibbling over "finer points," and we are well aware of the funding crunch in public schools. The issues you raise about Jambura and Armstrong-Busby (creationism and vouchers) are not issues in the current election; however, the issue of whether the D-11 board will demand that the administration re-order its priorities is crucial, in our opinion. We do not believe the current proposal champions the values of public education, employee rights or academic freedom. If we are being accused of failing the CSEA's liberal litmus test on the mill-levy issue, we plead guilty. -- Ed.
Please feed the animals
To the Editor:
I was dismayed to see the Indy's lack of endorsement for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's plea for community support. It may be that the Indy staff is not fully aware of our role in the community and the issues at stake.
I agree that there are many worthy financial needs in our community. Some have significant, far-reaching effects -- like saving endangered species from extinction and saving habitats to preserve wildness. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has an exemplary record of committing to conservation in many ways. We have direct impact with successful endangered-species breeding and release programs. We also educate and enlighten the community via natural, new exhibits that highlight the importance of preserving habitat and by unique, hands-on educational experiences for our families, emphasizing the importance of conserving biological diversity on earth.
As one of only five accredited zoos that does not receive regular public support, we are also one of the most underfunded zoos in the country. The small sales tax we are seeking with ballot question 2A will go to capital projects and will provide approximately $30 million over 10 years toward our $50 million master plan. Spacious enclosures will replace small, deteriorating animal displays and will allow us to exhibit the animals in a more natural context to reach more of our visitors with our conservation message and a great all-around experience. We appreciate the popularity the zoo enjoys, and we will count on continued success with private fund-raising as we aim to nearly double our previous goals to raise the additional $20 million needed to complete the master plan.
It is a modest request that will have a huge impact on your community zoo, the animals we care for, your family's education and endangered-species conservation. This hardly sounds like an unnecessary frill. This sounds like something this community appreciates and can easily support if we all do our part.
-- Della Garell, D.V.M.
Director of Conservation and Health
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Preserve the Flats
To the Editor:
I want to thank the many citizens and business owners (at times, one and the same) for the years of support towards keeping Higginbotham Flats as open space. This support has come in so many ways, such as the wonderfully successful benefit art show at the BAC, signing petitions of support toward preserving the Flats, and the willingness to become actively involved in the citizens initiative that would raise the necessary funds to purchase the Flats via a modest sales-tax increase that will, in time, sunset. These and many other actions have reinforced the notion that Manitou Springs is our town. The Ute Pass area is our home. We must protect our place of residence from unwanted development.
Your support is asked for once again in voting YES on Nov. 2 for ballot measure 2L. Our dreams of maintaining the quality of life we have come to cherish is being threatened. Our positive actions on election day will not only determine our future, but [that of] individuals in generations to come.
We are so close! Please help in getting us there -- the preservation of Higginbotham Flats. Don't forget to vote.
-- Rob Danin
Citizens for the Acquisition of Higginbotham Flats