LETTERS: Students don't need more chaos; cars with long-expired plates | Opinion

LETTERS: Students don’t need more chaos; cars with long-expired plates | Opinion

Students don’t need more chaos

If there’s one thing our children don’t need, it’s chaos.

The news from the Douglas County School District has been told around the country, rarely in glowing light. A partisan-split school district quickly fires their superintendent and chaos ensues. Parents and students protest. Teachers walk off the job. But long after newspapers like this one move on to other news, the chaos will likely continue. There will be no winners, but there will surely be losers — children.

Everyone knows the struggle the last two years have been on teachers, parents, and, most of all, students. And yet, as winter turns to spring, we all have hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that “after-COVID” might come and the chaos fade.

But there are some intent on extending the chaos. The Gazette supports firing Michael Thomas, superintendent of D-11. But the worst part of this careless opinion isn’t its cherry-picking of data or discarding of context. Instead, it’s the blindness to the obvious chaos that would ensue if Thomas was fired. And we need not look beyond our own county for a cautionary tale.

In the 2000s, Harrison D-2 decided to make a sudden shift, and hired a new superintendent. “Pay for performance” was instituted, turning standardized tests into the golden calf. Learning that couldn’t be scored was canceled.

Teachers quit in droves — some schools experienced up to 70% turnover. Inexperienced teachers filled the openings, ill-equipped for the behavior issues that rose. Gaming and cheating on standardized tests became a problem. Six years later, the superintendent left, chaos in his wake.

Teachers in our city are on edge. If partisan politics pushes school boards to abruptly fire a superintendent, we’ll lose teachers, chaos will reign, and students will suffer.

Hannah Martin

Colorado Springs

Cars with long-expired plates

I certainly agree with Ralph Clayton’s letter about the slew of people driving in town with long-expired plates. I see the same thing. Just a few weeks ago, I was in my bank parking lot and saw a man sitting in his car with plate tags of 4/21. So I asked him if he knew his tags we’re expired and that he could get a ticket for that. He just shrugged his shoulders and said “I must have a tag laying around the house somewhere. Hum, sure!

Well, I have 2 cars with tags due the next two months totaling $400. I’m thinking maybe I don’t have to pay these anymore. I can put that toward my property taxes that went up $440!

Bill Huffor

Woodland Park

Utilities needs new governance

After attending the Utility Board meeting on Wednesday, It has become obvious that citizen owners of Springs Utilities need to begin a dialogue with the City Council to consider a new governance model. What I know for sure is the City Council convening once a month as the Utility Board is not adequate governance of a billion-dollar city enterprise. I make this assertion because of the discussion in the Wednesday meeting. The Utilities staff gave a presentation to convert outdated overhead power lines, to modern underground lines in the neighborhoods that lost power for six days in the December windstorm.

The staff presented an unbelievable number of $2.2 billion to convert 3,000 miles of power lines to underground. That’s a whopping $733,000 per mile, which is hard to believe because it’s simply not true. I filed a CORA request to get the data that was used to come up with $2.2 billion.

The documents show they used the project to convert overhead lines in the Manitou business district. Downtown Manitou has all commercial electric services, the sidewalks are concrete with paved roadways, which is more costly than installing underground lines in residential unpaved alleys in the parts of the city with outdated and vulnerable wooden poles.

Based upon the questions the board asked and didn’t ask, it was obvious that they are at an intellectual disadvantage with the Utilities staff. Springs citizen-owners need a professional board with strong engineering backgrounds that can’t be easily misled.

Sam Masias

Colorado Springs

This is counterproductive

Re: “Durham says Democrat-allied tech executive spied on Trump’s White House office,” Feb. 15.

Regardless of political affiliation, all Americans should be deeply concerned about the recent allegations that Hillary Clinton’s campaign illegally spied on a sitting president with the aid of Big Tech.

The fact that for-profit corporations (accountable only to their shareholders) can spy on and censor our elected officials with impunity indicates that they think they more powerful than our government (which is accountable to its citizens).

This is counterproductive for our democracy as they seek to control our leaders and the flow of information to the public.

To prevent us from becoming another banana republic/tyranny, these alleged crimes must be investigated, exposed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We also need to enact legislation to rein in these out-of-control companies and prevent this treason/criminal actions from happening again.

Dr. Michael Pravica

Colorado Springs