I am writing to ask readers to please vote yes on ballot measure 5B. In the 21 years I’ve taught at Basalt Middle School, things have changed a lot. We didn’t use schoolwide email when I began and we hand wrote our report cards on paper. Now, almost every student has a cellphone, and TikTok challenges abound. The job has become more difficult, but the reward remains the same.

Becoming part of this community has meant so much to me and having teachers who live in and love the community they serve is crucial. I truly believe we are in a crisis in public education right now, especially in this valley. I continue to feel the support of our families and communities, but we lack essential funding. Because of custodial staff shortages, teachers are spending time cleaning and vacuuming and often have to sub for each other during planning time given the lack of availability of substitute teachers. It’s not that we resent doing custodial chores or helping out our colleagues, but there’s only so much time in a day and we want to and need to focus our efforts on our students and teaching.

For most teachers, this shortage simply means working harder, not giving up. However, as I see new teachers coming into the job, I can’t help but wonder if they will stay here and stick it out or if they will go to an area or a different career with better pay.

Jane Douglass