Letters: Vote yes on 1A | SummitDaily.com

Letters: Vote yes on 1A

Vote yes on 1A

As the executive director of Early Childhood Options, I have recently been fielding several questions from community members about referred measure 1A. Why the bundling? Where do these programs and strategies come from? How do we know this is the best way to tackle our local challenges?

Each year the Board of County Commissioners surveys residents to better understand what issues matter to our local community. Year after year, for several years now, residents respond that wildfire prevention, improved mental health services, recycling, affordable child care and preschool are among the most important and most challenging issues facing Summit County. In response — and to the commissioners' credit — they reached out to the very community organizations that work on these challenges day in and day out. Building Hope, Early Childhood Options, High Country Conservation Center and the Wildfire Council have all devoted time and resources to understanding these issues, how they impact Summit County and how they can be addressed. They developed plans that are guided by proven strategies, have clearly laid out budgets and have measurable anticipated outcomes.

In the case of child care and preschool, with which I am the most familiar, several community entities have been meeting for more than three years to address the dual challenges of child care affordability and school readiness. We learned what other communities are doing, successfully and unsuccessfully. We learned what the research tells us about family self-sufficiency, workforce stability and quality early learning. Partners in this work include Early Childhood Options, the Summit School District and the Family and Intercultural Resource Center, among others. Last year we spent nine months working with expert consultants to develop a program design that is well-researched and cost-effective. Tuition credits for 4-year-olds, along with a new child care center, will benefit children, parents, teachers, employers and our local economy. The program will be monitored over time by a local advisory board and results will be reported to the community regularly.

This level of detailed planning occurred across the board in all aspects of question 1A. This is not a "money grab," as has been erroneously suggested by some. Rather, this is a carefully and thoroughly thought-through plan to address our local challenges head on. And due to extensive community involvement, a high level of accountability has been built into this measure.

The proposals outlined in 1A are bundled together because citizens identified them as top priorities and because they are mutually beneficial to all. Mental health, safety, education, child care, recycling and community places — these are all local priorities that will result in a healthy and more prosperous Summit County. Please join me in voting Yes on 1A for Summit County.

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Lucinda Burns

Executive Director, Early Childhood Options

Dillon

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