As you consider the education funding initiatives on your ballot this year, our administrators have written a letter to the community. Read the full letter here:
As school leaders, we see the critical issues that our students, our educators and our schools face daily.
At a recent Board of Education meeting, several of us shared how difficult it can be to hire quality teachers for open positions. Many Jeffco teachers can often go to other districts and increase their pay by $10K or more annually.
In April, when CBS4 investigated average teacher salaries around the metro area, they found Boulder teachers earn $75K per year, Cherry Creek teachers earn $71K, Littleton teachers earn $66K, and Jeffco falls far behind, at just $57K per year. It’s difficult to keep great teachers in Jeffco while also paying much lower salaries. One reason for the discrepancy is that neighboring districts all benefit from the recent passage of mill levy overrides. This puts tens of millions of dollars into the budgets of those competing districts, leaving Jeffco Schools behind.
The mill levy override, will help Jeffco be more competitive with surrounding districts by investing in teachers. That’s important.
But it’s also important to understand that 5A will invest significant dollars in increased mental health support, safety and security resources, and increased career and technical programming and STEM options. The mill will also enable us to update classroom materials, technology, and resources so we can best prepare our students for 21st century careers. In addition, Jeffco will be able to expand full-day kindergarten and preschool options so our students start out strong.
Our buildings also have significant needs. Did you know on average Jeffco schools are 50 years old? While administrators do our best to provide a quality educational experience, many buildings are hampered by broken air conditioning and heating systems, leaky roofs and faulty plumbing. We need to invest in our schools to protect these assets and our children as well as preparing our schools and classrooms for 21st century learning.
Question 5B, the bond, does all that. It also allows the district to improve safety and security, boost utility cost savings by replacing outdated HVAC and electrical systems, and update learning spaces like science labs at 99 elementary schools, 17 middle schools, 18 high schools, 3 Pre-K sites, and 20 option schools. All Jeffco charter schools will also benefit from the bond.
In addition, 5B will fund a new career and technical education site in south Jeffco, as well as two new schools in west Lakewood and northwest Arvada. The bond also includes three school replacements and additions to several schools where we currently do not have enough room for our students.
None of the funds from the mill or the bond will go toward senior central administrator salaries, and all expenditures will be overseen by two independent citizen oversight committees: the Capital Asset Advisory Committee and the Financial Oversight Committee.
As the Board of Directors of the Jefferson County Administrators Association we proudly lead the educational mission of all our members, Jeffco administrators, school based (i.e. principals, assistant principals, etc.),and non-school based (i.e. support leaders and operational supervisors). We are devoted to ensuring that all our 86,000 students receive a quality education and are prepared for a successful future.
We can do more for the future of these students and the future of our communities with the support of Jeffco residents.
Thank you for investing in Jeffco children.
JCAA (Jefferson County Administrators Association) Board of Directors
Esther Valdez, President; Amanda Pierorazio, President-Elect; Colleen Owens, Past President; Eric Everding, Achievement Liaison; Sarah Cahill-Sena, Central Support Services Liaison; Jeffrey Fugita, Central Instructional Services Liaison; Stacy Bedell, Elementary Liaison; Rob Hoover, Middle Liaison; Lynn Torr, Senior Liaison; Rob Bishop, Administrative Learning and Development; Mindi Feir, Alameda Area; Don Klene, Arvada Area; Sally Mills, Arvada West Area; Suanne Hawley, Bear Creek Area; Greg Jackson, Central #1; Chris Linton, Central Area #2; Mike Babkiewich, Central #3; Jennifer Steele, Central #4; Gene Lewis, Chatfield Area; Pam Yoder, Choice Schools; Jennifer Pennell, Columbine Area; Wes Paxton, Conifer Area; Andrea Schultz, Dakota Ridge Area; Bethany Robinson, Golden Area; Josh Shapiro, Green Mountain Area; Katherine Chumacero, Jefferson Area; William Stidham, Lakewood Area; Matt Hilbert, Pomona Area; Carrie Cornejo, Ralston Valley Area; Renee Williams, Standley Lake Area; Anne DiCola, Wheat Ridge Area; Jon DeStefano, JCAA Executive Director; Jeff Pierson, Compensation Chair; Susie Van Scoyk, At Risk Liaison