November 2003

Apathy about election appalling

By Galen Larson

Oct. 9: An evening of enlightenment, or so I thought. The League of Women Voters held a forum for the schoolboard candidates. They went to a lot of trouble to provide refreshments and facilitate the meeting. The candidates came well-prepared and were truly interested in the students, curriculum, budget, and the many problems facing education in this time of drastic cutbacks.

Well, I was enlightened, but not in a happy way. So few people showed up for the forum that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to attain a board position with so little support from the parents and the public.

These elected volunteers, and there is no other way to explain this position, will spend many long and arduous hours without monetary compensation under state law, to help see that the children of Montezuma County get an education. Shame on the parents who show so little interest in the schooling of their children.

I have been to several school-board meetings, and it seems the only time the parents attend is if they have an axe to grind. There is very little positive input.

The budget these school-board members are entrusted to manage varies from $19 million to $26 million. It is amazing that we are not more interested in the people that manage the two things we hold most dear: our children and our money.

To hold these dedicated friends responsible only when things are not to our liking is shameful. The school board and teachers, as far as I’m concerned, are pillars of the community, as they are molding those that will shape our society. The board does it for free and the teachers for very meager salaries.

We look hard for the very best mechanic, builder, doctor, and cry not about the cost, but when it comes to education, we pay with excuses and complaints.

What’s the answer? Community involvement. Ideally we would get as many people to cheer the school board and teachers at the meetings and in the classrooms as turn out for the sporting events. Sports are great but we don’t produce as many Michael Jordans, John Elways and Jackie Joyners as we do businesspeople, biologists, engineers, and artists. We want to train an intelligent workforce that can aspire to be more than hamburger-flippers.

Thank you, school board and educators, for helping to do that – with very little public support.

Galen Larson owns 360 acres west of Cortez.