The Cost of Saying No – Letter to the Editor

The Cost of Saying No –

Fellow voters of Woodland Park ballots are on the way. We are faced with a decision of saying “YES” to better fund our schools or to say “NO”. There are many who argue saying “NO” costs them nothing. That they will pay no more taxes and thus the costs for schools in Woodland Park will not increase. I believe differently. I am saying there is a greater cost in saying “NO” than there may be in saying “YES”. Much greater in fact and I will illustrate that below.

Should Ballot Issue 1 not pass, should the “NO” vote prevail consider the following:

— Maintenance issues that we know of now including roofs will only get worse and cost more to repair. Our ability to address unknown maintenance needs is severely limited. Similar to your home, car, even your own body, what needs fixing does not get fixed on it’s own. It festers and gets worse. Often beyond the point of repair to where the only option is total removal or replacement. Saying “NO” will not make these facility issues go away, they will fester.

— The cost of needed technological investment will not go down. We know that many students share resources already. Many of those shared resources are outdated. Meaning that our children are already at a competitive disadvantage in the classroom. The more time passes the more the resources continue to age. Meaning the cost of saying “NO” when we need to catch up only gets greater and greater.

— Regardless of what the business or operation is there is one undeniable fact. It’s most valuable resource are it’s people. Woodland Park Schools are losing our people. We are losing the competition to attract the best teachers for our students. Why? We don’t pay what other districts pay, not even close in some cases. Add to that the number of teachers who have left our children and teach elsewhere because they, like all of us, have a need to make more money. This only compounds the issue. All companies know the cost to recruit and hire is FAR greater than the cost to retain an employee. The cost of saying “NO” is we will see further attrition from our best and brightest, we will find it harder and harder to attract and retain the best and brightest to teach our children now and each child that attends our schools for years to come.

— Perhaps the greatest cost of saying “NO” is Woodland Park will become known in our region and perhaps even statewide as a city that does not support our schools and doesn’t pay our teachers. It is said that what you permit, you promote.

Failure to pass Ballot Issue 1 says that Woodland Park is promotes allowing children to spend their days in school facilities that continue to degrade degrade and are potentially dangerous.

Failure to pass Ballot Issue 1 says that Woodland Park promotes our children being at a measurable and decided technological disadvantage in the classroom.

Failure to pass Ballot Issue 1 says that city of Woodland Park does not place importance on paying our teachers a wage that they can be proud of. A wage that other teachers considering our district will find attractive.

I recognize there are strong feelings on both sides. I recognize people will make their decision for personal reasons. Regardless of your vote we remain in this together, this should not divide our community. In summary friends and neighbors the simple fact is there IS a cost of saying No. It may not be paid now, it may not be paid with cash or a check, but make no mistake if we say NO now, we will be paying this cost for years to come.

Thanks for your time,

Timothy McMillin
Woodland Park, CO