There are so many important education conversations that we need to be participating in. The biggest is about the staff that serve our children. Teachers, classified, and administrators. We know that having a good teacher can make all the difference in a classroom. In Jeffco, we must retain and attract the best teachers. We also know that the support staff and school and district leadership are all imperative in supporting a child’s education.
We are losing some of our best and brightest staff members as surrounding school districts are paying nineteen percent more than Jeffco . In order to keep well qualified, committed staff members in our classrooms, we need to ensure that we have the funding to recognize our experienced staff members who sacrificed during past budget cuts and are being paid below average salaries.
Jeffco staff members all took a pay cut to help balance the district’s budget and are now only one percent ahead of where they were before the recession. Most are bringing home less today than in 2008 given increasing health insurance costs. A modest three percent increase would recognize their dedication and commitment, help retain our best teachers, and eliminate the costly revolving door of hiring and training teachers, then watching them leave for another school district that has better pay.
We recently received the following info from the Colorado School Finance Project and wanted to share with all of you:
Recently the Learning Policy Institute released their report A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S. The CSFP has pulled out information from the report that is pertinent to Colorado and provided a link to the interactive map.
1. Colorado: Understanding Teacher Shortages<http://www.cosfp.org/HomeFiles/LearningPolicyInstitute/2016/LPI_Understanding_Teacher_Shortages-Colorado.pdf> – Map and overview highlighting key factors that reflect and influence teacher supply and demand.
2. State indicators influencing Supply and Demand<http://www.cosfp.org/HomeFiles/LearningPolicyInstitute/2016/A_Coming_Crisis_in_Teaching_REPORT_App_B_Supply_Demand.pdf> (Appendix B) – comparison of all states
3. Distribution of Uncertified and Inexperienced Teachers by State<http://www.cosfp.org/HomeFiles/LearningPolicyInstitute/2016/A_Coming_Crisis_in_Teaching_REPORT_App_C_Uncertified_Inexperienced_Teachers.pdf> (Appendix C)
Following are links to the Learning Policy Institute:
* About the institute<https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/about>
* The full report: A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S.<https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/coming-crisis-teaching>
* Understanding Teacher Shortages, a state by state analysis of factors influencing teacher supply, demand and equity: Interactive Map<https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/understanding-teacher-shortages-interactive>
We need to be having these conversations across Colorado but, for those of us in Jeffco, we really need to be looking at this and figuring out how to tackle the issue. Jeffco does receive less funding because we are a large district and because we have the tax base to support mills and bonds, we’re just dependent on voters to understand how school funding really works due to the negative factor implementation.
With a rising free and reduced population of 34%, we have fewer children in need than other large districts like Denver, so we don’t receive as much funding but the costs and needed interventions to serve this part of our community don’t go away because a percentage is under a magic line drawn by the negative factor formula.
Share the importance of funding public education with your friends. Share the knowledge about the current 3A 3B campaign and advocate for our children.
And, finally, our friends at Grassroots St. Vrain created some videos that do a great job explaining funding. They’re so good that we’ve parked them permanently on our website and we ask that you watch and share them! http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/funding-basics-101/