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To the editor:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — that’s the compelling point made by Chad Hawkes in his May 15 column regarding the need for more counselors in local schools.

As an experienced fifth-grade teacher, committed to helping all kids succeed, Hawkes outlines the steady uptick in “problem behaviors” that he and his colleagues routinely witness — ones that can metastasize into REAL problems of antisocial behavior if not effectively addressed.

But, according to the latest national statistics, Utah and Idaho continue to rank 50th and 49th respectively in their per pupil (state) support for K-12 education. Chronic underfunding leads to overcrowded classes, low morale among teachers, and reduced support for school counselors and mental health professionals. Meanwhile, prison populations continue to explode.

Maybe Mark Twain put it best in sizing up the dilemma we as taxpayers face, addressing issues now or down the road: “You pays your money, and you takes your choice.”

William Strong