Every child deserves a level playing field for education; every child deserves the best school facilities. And as the future workforce for the city, students need the best tools to train them for 21st century jobs.

It’s been 17 years since Harrison School District 2 asked residents for money to upgrade its facilities. Think about what’s happened since 2001: the Internet of Things has created smartboards out of chalkboards and iPads have replaced notebooks. Educators have to change the way they teach, and the classrooms they teach in need to keep up with ever-changing technology.

The goal is to upgrade school technology, attract great teachers, maintain older schools and to make schools safer for students. It’s an ambitious project, but these times require forward-thinking investments in the future.

And face it, it’s cheaper to repair than to replace. If the district waits to provide critical repairs to its dated buildings and fails to stay on top of routine maintenance — eventually, they’ll have to raze facilities and start over again. That’s not cheap; repairing and refurbishing is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

This isn’t a cheap proposal. Supporters understand that it will cost a little bit of money from every homeowner to make this happen — but think of the consequences of the alternative. Withholding investment in teachers or in infrastructure will result in poorly prepared students who aren’t ready for high-tech jobs. Failure to invest in a quality library removes a major gathering place for the community and weakens neighborhoods.

Why should businesses care? In a few years these students will be your workforce. Investing in them is investing in the future. And don’t forget, Harrison District 2 schools are on the way from the Colorado Springs Airport to every major tourist destination in Colorado Springs. Want to go to The Broadmoor? You’ll go from the airport through District 2. Manitou Springs or Downtown? The same route.

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We want visitors — who often include economic developers and owners of prospective new businesses — to see the best Colorado Springs has to offer. As Mayor John Suthers says, we want a city to match our scenery. And we can have it, but only if we invest.

The time has come to seize the opportunity to improve District 2 schools. As other school districts have passed mill levy overrides and bond issues, Harrison will face increasing competition for teachers and for students. The area of town that most needs investment and opportunity will be left behind.

Yes, there are other education funding measures on the ballot. But those are statewide measures and are poorly defined. There’s no sure chance that Harrison will get the money it needs or that Amendment 73 will even pass. It raises income taxes on both people and corporations — not the wisest way to raise local money.

With 4E, the money stays in Colorado Springs and makes a difference in the community. It’s a vitally important proposition for the district and for its future.

Vote yes on 4E, an investment in Colorado Springs’ future.

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