In my book, he was No. 1, always has been and always will be. He was no show boat or a prima donna. He was highly skilled, consistent, a man of integrity, a supportive husband for 72 years, dependable, dedicated, a team player, a stellar community-minded person and loyal to the end. He was “Stan the Man” Musial. He spent his entire 22-year career in major league baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1941 through 1963. And he stayed on with the Cardinals’ organization after playing the sport he loved up until his death last week at the age of 92. While he was born in Pennsylvania, his life-long baseball career in St. Louis reflected his strong Midwest values.
I loved to watch his unorthodox left hand batting stance and precision swing. It produced more records than I have space to recount. But it is important to note that he was a life-time .331 hitter, hit 475 home runs, had seven National League batting crowns and others. The Man was much more than baseball statistics. He led a quiet, clean life contrasted by others who didn’t, and in turn, got more of the limelight. He was a gentleman, a civic leader and a devoted family man. He was a role model for a lot of us who grew up in the 1940s and ’50s. Stan the Man will be missed, but his legacy will always be with us.
It has been nearly 20 years since the state’s School Finance Act has seen any major revisions. That is too long! This Act controls the funding of public schools from K-12. There have been inequities in the law for a long time, but for whatever reasons the Legislature has not resolved them. Issues of the number of at-risk students, English-language learners and special education needs are relevant factors today along with the assessed valuation of each district. The existing cost-of-living factor in the funding formula is a component that needs to be re-thought. We have too much “haves” and “have nots” among the state’s 178 school districts. Equity and quality among the districts needs to be better adjusted.
State Sen. Mike Johnston is heading up a coalition of various interests to draft legislation to address these issues. It is clear early on that the devil is in the detail, but the issue needs to be tackled. And it would have a tax package to go with it that would require state voters’ approval. Along with the politics of this endeavor, is the looming Lobato lawsuit, which is pending before the state Supreme Court. I have written about it before, but basically it contends that the state of Colorado does not adequately fund public schools across the state to be in compliance with its constitutional mandate. One education consultant has estimated an annual funding deficit of $4 billion. The outcome of the lawsuit could have huge consequences, but in the meantime we should applaud Senator Johnston and his group to tackle much needed revisions to fund schools.
Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.