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Reader: Vote "yes" for the children

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This letter is intended to encourage all of the parents, grandparents and concerned citizens who reside in Colorado Springs School District 11 to support the upcoming mill levy override. Some will ask what a mill levy is. Simply it is a property tax we already pay that is used to supplement funding for school districts. D-11 will be asking us to pay a bit more initially, approximately $14 a month, in order to reduce bond debt (which will save D-11 taxpayers $11 million), and improve the educational outcomes of nearly 26,000 children. [The phased-in change would add roughly $4 to $8 in taxes per month for every $100,000 in market value of a home; details at d11.org/mlo.]

The mill levy will be used to upgrade the computer systems, electrical systems, water mains and heating and cooling facilities, eventually adding air conditioning for 12 schools, mostly older schools in lower-income portions of D-11. Temperatures in many of these classrooms can be as high as 85 degrees during warmer months. How can we expect children to concentrate on their studies in this type of heat? How can we expect a teacher to teach in this type of environment? I have been in those classrooms, and I could not do it. Additionally, MLO monies will be used to increase salaries for teachers and counselors and blue-collar workers — bus drivers, painters and cafeteria staff.

As part of the MLO, there will be no administrator salary increases. By the way, there will be a citizen oversight committee to ensure all monies are used as described in the MLO ballot language. As school bonds are paid off as part of the MLO, the cost to each property owner will decrease to approximately $6.50 — a cup of Starbucks coffee or a good Wendy's hamburger. Additionally information can be found online at friendsofd11.org. For the sake of the children, I am encouraging each D-11 voter to support the upcoming MLO on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7.

— Willie H. Breazell, Former D-11 Board Member, Colorado Springs

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