BLATANT DECEPTION

We’d like to pay teachers more BUT…

There’s always an excuse. Why is it that education initiatives always face opposition? We’ve defunded education for over a decade at this point and children don’t get to redo their years in school. What we have taken away from them in services has NEVER returned.

Education funding has not recovered from the recession: In the 2017-18 school year alone, Colorado schools were underfunded by nearly $830 million.

Colorado’s investment in education is lagging behind other states. We rank near the bottom in personal income invested in education.

Colorado needs to spend between $2,000 and $2,800 more per pupil to meet the national average.

Colorado is experiencing a teacher shortage crisis — 95% of teachers in rural districts don’t make enough salary to meet the cost of living.

 

Yet, here come the folks who not only don’t want to have to pay for education, they actually file a campaign and are planning on spending $$$ against our teachers and children! And they have “talking points” so here we go!

They formed a COALITION to oppose children and teachers!

THE COALITION INCLUDES: Colorado Bankers Association, Colorado Restaurant Association, Associated General Contractors, Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors, Colorado Association of Realtors, Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Competitive Council, Ready Colorado, Independence Institute, Colorado Rising Action, Colorado Farm Bureau, Americans for Prosperity, Building Jobs4Colorado, South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.

Same people who like to say our schools are failing, our children aren’t good enough, and those who work to privatize public education.

One has to wonder why some of these groups put their names alongside dark money organizations. Do they benefit from that money too or are they just ignorant of the facts?

Here are some of the long list of claims designed to confuse voters so they can serve the big, dark money masters:

MYTH – Amendment 73 is a $1.6 billion per year blank check.

TRUTH – they want local control, yet when it’s given to them, they still complain. Local control is also needed because 178 different Colorado school districts have made different cuts and have different populations that have different needs. GO TO A COMMUNITY BUDGET FORUM AND ADVOCATE FOR THE SERVICES YOU THINK WE NEED!

The initiative also plans for equitable distribution of the revenue raised. Unless and until the legislature creates a more equitable School Finance Formula, this initiative would:

  • Increase base funding for all students
  • Provide for full-day kindergarten and increase the amount of revenue going to early childhood education funding
  • Expand the definition of “at-risk” students to count free and reduced lunch kids
  • Significantly increase the amount of funds passing from the state to local districts for: English Language Learners, Special Education, and Gifted & Talented students

Dollars are under control of the locally elected school board. Examples of how funding could be spent (there are many and this will be up to local control including your input at the annual community budget forums):

  • Safety and security
  • Mental health
  • Career and technical education
  • School maintenance and repair
  • Reducing class size

MYTH – Amendment 73 is being sold as a big benefit for teacher pay and new school buildings, but the reality is the measure has no guarantee that the funds will be used for those purposes. A big portion of the money will go toward administrators, overhead and the huge education bureaucracy. There are zero guarantees teachers will get all or even most of this enormous tax hike.

MYTH – Backers of the measure have openly bragged that school districts can spend the money however they want. That’s why there is little doubt that a significant portion of the tax increase will go toward administrators, overhead and the education bureaucracy. Currently, only 55 cents on every dollar goes to pay teachers.

TRUTH – Huge administration is the myth floated by the tea party groups and a method of pitting teachers against administrators and parents against administrators. While all districts have varying percentages of administrators, in Jeffco, only 4% of all staff are administrators.

Quotes from Our Administrators

Who watches Jeffco’ budget and oversees how money is spent?

The Capitol Asset Advisory Committee:

http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/community/capital_asset_advisory_committee/index.html

The Board of Education authorized the establishment of the Capital Asset Advisory Committee in accordance with Policies EL-8 and FB, both of which deal with facility condition and long range facility planning.  The Committee was formed from members of the 2005 Capital Improvement Program Oversight Committee and the 2009 Facilities Usage Committee.  The purpose of the Committee is to monitor the planning of capital needs and the implementation of capital programs, which may include future bond programs.

Members have a working familiarity with facility design and/or construction practices; business management expertise with organization(s) of comparable size to the district, and are independent and free from any relationship that would interfere with independent judgment.  Preference is given to Jefferson County residents.

The Facility Planning and Design Committee

http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/business/facil_plan_design_const/facilities_usage/index.html

As part of Jeffco Public Schools effort to reduce costs and identify efficiencies, the district examined all areas of operation, including how schools and facilities are used throughout the district.  More than 30 community and district volunteers were chosen to serve on a Facilities Usage Committee in early 2009 to help the district determine the most efficient and effective use of its buildings. The work of the Committee will be ongoing.

The Facilities Usage Committee provided options to the district for an efficient use of all district facilities where educational services are provided that align with the Board of Education Ends Policies and the district mission of educating all students for a successful future.

The Financial Oversight Committee

http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/finance/financial_oversight.html

The Board of Education chose citizens from a group of applicants to serve on the District’s Financial Oversight Committee

This group meets at least 10 times a year and has seven business community members

The group meets monthly throughout the school year and the primary function of the oversight committee is to assist the Board of Education in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities by reviewing:

  • financial reports and other financial information used internally and provided by the district to any governmental body or the public;
  • the district’s systems of internal controls regarding finance, accounting, legal compliance and ethics that management and the Board have established;
  • assess the business risk of the district; and the district’s auditing, accounting and financial reporting processes generally.

Consistent with this function, the Financial Oversight Committee should encourage continuous improvement of, and should foster adherence to the district’s policies, procedures and practices at all levels.

Transparency?

Jeffco Schools was recognized and awarded for transparency!  Jeffco was one of the first school districts to create an online searchable database for the public to use.

The district is committing to providing an easy-to-use, clear view of how taxpayer dollars are spent by listing expenditures by fund. Jeffco’s financial transparency website was recently awarded an “A” by the editors of Sunshine Review.

Editors at Sunshine Review analyzed more than 6,000 government websites and graded each on a 10-point transparency checklist. Editors looked at content available on government websites against what should be provided. They sought information on items such as budgets, meetings, lobbying, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received an “A” grade during the extensive grading process. Only 214 websites were awarded!

And there’s more!

The 2012 Bond is complete with projects on-time AND under budget! Look at the tremendous amount of work that’s been done!

http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/on-time-and-under-budget/

4% Administration!

The truth? Jeffco has only 4% administration. That’s lower than nearly every district in the state!

You can oppose taxes all you want. If you choose to do that, then you need to find a way to fund the services our community needs to provide in another way. That’s not through lottery tickets, not through casinos, not through marijuana, and not through any other creative scheme that shows you pictures of children. What you shouldn’t EVER do, is hurt and negatively impact the lives of children by telling lies, spreading misinformation, or inaccuracies about education funding.

Are these good for our kids?

  • Changing boundaries and transportation radius
  • Limited ability to meet basic deferred maintenance
  • Continuing to lose great staff
  • Larger class sizes
  • Higher fees for parents
  • Lack of resources for student learning
  • Cutting programs and opportunities for students
  • Cutting school days

MYTH – Amendment 73 totally undermines the state’s voter-approved TABOR state spending limits. By exempting education – the largest program in the state’s budget – from the state spending cap, Amendment 73 is a backdoor scheme to allow big-spending politicians to cost-shift and spend unlimited amounts of tax money on other programs also. Amendment 73 is a blatant deception.

TRUTH – Who are these big spending politicians???? It’s OBVIOUS that cuts to education have occurred! Send some big spending politicians our way, we want to talk to them!!! As parents, we’ve been begging for years! We gave more per pupil funding to students in 1990 than we do today! The only people who can increase taxes in Colorado are VOTERS!

And TABOR? We’ve made national news! The nation is laughing at us! Check out the video (WARNING, extremely off color language but amusing, if we weren’t living it!!!)

“The Taxpayer Bill of Rights (abbreviated TABOR) is a concept advocated by conservative and free market libertarian groups.”

“Douglas Bruce is a conservative activist, convicted felon,[8] and former legislator in the U.S. state of Colorado, most widely known for being the author of Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).”

“…the lack of tax revenue has hurt Colorado in many ways. For instance, Colorado ranks 48th in the nation for higher education funding (per personal income level), which is the lowest in 40 years, representing a drop from 34th in 1992.[12] In another example, Colorado now ranks 44th in what it spends to repair its roads.”

“Opponents also argue that Colorado’s economic growth has largely been despite – not because of – this system, and is a result of changing societal desires for open spaces, outdoor sports opportunities, and other “quality of life” issues that are now imperiled by Colorado’s inability to provide expanding governmental services. They point out that almost 90% of state tax revenues are now already earmarked for various purposes, handicapping the state legislature and giving it very little flexibility.”

“They also add that the process has not been as “democratic” as its advocates purport, citing the off-year voting and complex wording that may skew results. Some opponents claim that complicated tax decisions are best decided by deliberation based on well-informed argument and informed consent, such as presumably occurs in legislatures, rather than the simplistic and emotionally charged appeals that tend to dominate referendums.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxpayer_Bill_of_Rights

 

MYTH – Amendment 73 is being sold as a tax increase on wealthy CEOs and big corporations, but that’s dishonest. Amendment 73 triggers a massive income tax increase on tens of thousands of small businesses, farms, middle income married couples, and each and every homeowner in Colorado. Some of Colorado’s best-known and most vital employers would be hit with tax increases as high as 78 percent.

TRUTH – Really? Check your personal impact with the #A73IMPACTCALCULATOR

 

Colorado’s status as a low tax state is secure even with Amendment 73 passing because we will still have:

  • 3rd lowest property tax rates in the nation
  • 9th lowest corporate tax rate among the 44 states with such taxes.
  • 10th lowest for income tax rates for those making up to $200,000
  • For business property owners, farmers and ranchers, they will see a tax decrease of about 17% on their school property taxes when nonresidential assessment rates are reset.

Even the 1% in the highest tax bracket will still pay less of a percentage of their income than teachers, police officers, and other hard-working middle class Coloradans.

MYTH: The property tax increase on Colorado homeowners was written so poorly that it will force more money to schools at the expense of fire districts, library districts, and irrigation and water districts. (link to first responder post)

TRUTH:

In order for Initiative 93 (now known as Amendment 73) to clear the Title Board Hearing, it had to meet the Single-subject Requirementin the state’s constitution.

https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/guide/2-BallotTitle.html

In accordance with Colorado law, ballot titles:

  • must be brief;
  • cannot conflict with another ballot title selected for any petition previously filed for the same election;
  • must be in the form of a question which may easily be answered “yes/for” or “no/against”; and
  • must unambiguously state the principle of the provision sought to be added, amended, or repealed.

1.  Single-subject requirement

  • Every proposed constitutional amendment or statutory proposition must be limited to a single subject, which must be clearly expressed in its title. In other words, the text of the measure must concern only one subject and one distinct purpose.
  • For additional information relating to the single-subject requirement, see Article V, Section 1(5.5) of the Colorado Constitution and section 1‑40‑106.5, C.R.S.

About Amendment 73 & how it stabilizes local level funding for public education.

Public education is the only local level funding the state is required to backfill. Because of Gallagher, the personal property assessment rate has fallen from 21% in 1982 to the current 7.2%. The Commercial rate has remained at 29%. Commercial property owners carry the burden while personal rates fall, creating a funding crisis for our schools (as well as fire districts, water districts, and many other services).

Amendment 73 addresses this issue /crisis for public school funding, by dropping the current 7.2% to 7.0% and holding it there to prevent further loss of funding – for public education only. 73 also provides long over due relief to commercial property owners (business owners, farmers, and ranchers) by dropping the commercial rate from 29 to 24% and holding it there to prevent any fall in future local funding for education.

Please note these stipulations to Gallagher assessment rate are only for education.

This is why fire districts, park districts, etc. often put their own mill levy initiatives on the ballot. To fix this issue, these districts can also file initiatives (just as we did with Initiative 93/Amendment 73) but they must be single subject, as the constitution requires! Without this fix, these special districts will continue to decrease in funding, just as education has over the years.

If you look at your property tax bill, it will look like this in 2019 –

If Amendment 73 is approved by voters (Residential):

School mill levy rate – 7.0 %
APEX Park and Sec mill levy rate – 6.1%
Arvada Fire District mill levy rate – 6.1%

If Amendment 73 is not approved by voters (Residential):

School mill levy rate – 6.1 %
APEX Park and Sec mill levy rate – 6.1%
Arvada Fire District mill levy rate – 6.1%

If Amendment 73 is approved by voters (Commercial):

School mill levy rate – 24.0 %
APEX Park and Sec mill levy rate – 29%
Arvada Fire District mill levy rate – 29%

If Amendment 73 is not approved by voters (Commercial):

School mill levy rate – 29%
APEX Park and Sec mill levy rate – 29%
Arvada Fire District mill levy rate – 29%

Is it more work for county assessors? Yes, but we’ve all used formulas and calculations in spreadsheets. It’s not that hard to reformulate a calculation in a computer program. They can do their assessment spot check as usual, they just get to do an extra calculation. Several County Assessors and candidates are supportive of Amendment 73, Jeffco candidate Scot Kersgaard even carried a petition!

Check your personal impact with the #A73IMPACTCALCULATOR

 

Today’s ninth grade students have never experienced a fully-funded education system in Colorado.

 

But we do have increased safety and mental health needs and concerns:

Public Comment on Jeffco Funding Safety and Security

Jeffco Safety and Security

Mental Health for Jeffco Students

https://safe2tell.org/

 

And we do have broken water mains, raw sewage backing up into schools, and indoor rain and snow:

Raw sewage in Columbine classrooms one among many ongoing repair issues

https://www.9news.com/article/news/education/green-mountain-cancels-sports-due-to-building-problems/73-593575232

One more thing, let’s talk about the honesty of this No Campaign. They “copied” the Tax Impact Calculator.

I personally filled it out to see what they came up with. Basically, they grabbed all the personal information I put in and then sent me to a donate page. That was 6 days ago and never have I received anything about my tax impact. TALK ABOUT BLATANT DECEPTION!!!

Now, you have a choice. You can let all the robo-calls, mailers, advertisements, and promoted social media posts sway your friends who don’t know any better and say absolutely nothing OR you can share this post, step out of your comfort zone, do a little bit of advocacy and Support Jeffco Kids!

 

#YesonAmendment73 has a coalition as well! The people who will make a difference for children!

Join in! This is what grassroots looks like! Email us @ volunteer@supportjeffcokids.org