Petition to the JBC – Update

In our January 13, 2020 post, we asked you to join us and the Great Schools Thriving Communities (GSTC) coalition in asking the Joint Budget Committee members to “not shortchange our kids” as they begin work on the K-12 Supplementals by signing our petition.

Thank you for signing the petition.  We invite you to share this letter and message below with others so we can all advocate for our students and schools together.

January 22nd, GSTC forwarded the signed petitions onto the members of the Joint Budget Committee along with the following cover letter reiterating that

“…any cuts to district funding will cause additional and undue hardship to students and teachers who are already reeling from the challenges, stresses, and isolation of this pandemic.

https://www.greatschoolsthrivingcommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Letter-to-the-JBC-This-is-No-Time-to-Cut-Schools.pdf

Dear JBC Member:

Attached you will find the names of well over 1,000 Coloradans from more than 140 communities around the state. They represent parents, school board members, educators and local leaders who understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on Colorado students, and they know first-hand how devastating further cuts in their districts would be.

The Great Schools, Thriving Communities Coalition created this online petition to give these public education supporters, your constituents, a way to convey the urgency of these concerns to you.

As a coalition we greatly appreciate your recognition that today’s extraordinary circumstances can not be met with the traditional mechanisms of the supplemental process. As you know, there are numerous reasons that COVID-19 requires a unique approach to the supplementals this year, including that: the October count enrollment figures don’t accurately reflect ongoing fluctuations in student participation; at-risk students have been undercounted because many families do not file the necessary paperwork when nutrition assistance is available without an official FRL designation; and the fluidity between virtual and in-person learning requires districts to keep both systems in place, despite the additional costs.

In short, the decline in the student count from last year’s School Finance Act to the October count does not mean districts have lower costs. The undersigned want you to know that any cuts to district funding will cause additional and undue hardship to students and teachers who are already reeling from the challenges, stresses and isolation of this pandemic.

Thank you for taking the concerns of these Coloradans into consideration as you undertake the challenge of balancing this and next year’s budgets. Please know that our coalition and its member organizations appreciate your service and stand ready to help find creative solutions to the budget challenges ahead.

Sincerely,

The Great Schools, Thriving Communities Coalition

This year, COVID has caused a 3.3% reduction in public school enrollment. In normal times, the state has often reduced funding mid-year for districts that have lower enrollment than anticipated. But these times are not normal.

While the number of children in school — in-person and remote — has declined, school costs have most certainly not. In fact, keeping our students and teachers safe and supported costs more now than ever.

As supporters of public education, we are asking you to maintain school funding at the level you passed in the 2020 legislative session. COVID may have reduced enrollment, but it has increased costs. Let our districts serve our students.

Thank you for signing the petition.  We invite you to share this letter and message below with others so we can all advocate for our students and schools together.

Check out the letter to see the pages and pages of signatures!!!

Letter-to-the-JBC-This-is-No-Time-to-Cut-Schools