An interesting article sparked our attention and we wanted to share some pieces of this with you as well as a few important facts.
“Superintendent contract comments highlight need for mill levy”
We know there’s a contingent within our district that would absolutely lose their minds over a headline like this, even to mention more funding for schools elicits attacks. This article is actually about the school district serving Sterling, a rural district that has also been negatively impacted by the Negative Factor (now known as the BS Factor thanks to our 2017 legislative session – go ahead and laugh, we all are. Most people involved in education think the negative factor is, indeed, BS.)
Sterling RE-1 has lost $2 million a year in state funding. As Senator Andy Kerr stated, “Statewide it (the Negative Factor) has stolen $5.8 billion in lost revenue, not from me and you, but from our kids. It has cost schools in Jeffco $558 million since 2009.”
Interestingly, the school board had a discussion regarding whether their superintendent could lead the district to a successful mill and bond for the desperate funding issues.
Great Education Colorado has provided the most recent stats on education funding:
- $2,685 Amount below the national average that Colorado spends per pupil (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]
- $4,511 Amount Colorado spends per pupil below Nebraska (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]
- $8,019 Amount Colorado spends per pupil below Wyoming (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]
- $2,157 Amount Colorado spends per pupil below Kansas (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]
- $1,243 Amount Colorado spends per pupil below New Mexico (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]
STATS ON SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH 4-DAY SCHOOL WEEK (to save money):
- 49% of Colorado districts (88 out of 178 school districts) are on or have some schools on 4-day school weeks.
- 50% growth in 4-day school weeks since 2005-06.
- The number of schools on 4-day school weeks has more than doubled since 2000.
Should the job of a superintendent include educating the community about the concerns regarding funding? We think so, there’s no other outlet for parents and community to learn about the issues and the superintendent should have more knowledge about the challenges facing the district than any other person in the community. The funding topic should be discussed in every district and school accountability committee in the state and certainly at every PTA meeting.
Dr. Glass has implemented his blog to increase conversations and gather feedback while also openly sharing his own thoughts. He had a regular column in the newspaper in his last district and thoroughly analyzed education topics impacting the community. We haven’t had these conversations in Jeffco in a few years now and we’re grateful to see them happening again.
What we really loved seeing though, was the response from the Sterling Journal Advocate at the end of the article:
“If you are unhappy with their decision, we suggest you run for school board. There will be six seats up for election in November – Districts 1, 2, 4,5, 6, and 7 and the board is currently searching for individuals to fill two vacant seats. Individuals interested in filling either the District 1 or 2 seats are asked to submit an application with a letter of interest and qualifications to Kelly Jo Harlow, secretary to the board, at Hagen Administration Building, 301 Hagen St., by 4 p.m., Monday, July 10.”
“We have heard plenty of complaints about the school district in recent months, but simply voicing your complaints on social media isn’t enough. It’s time to step up and be a leader for the district.”
We agree! We’ve all had enough with the complaints and anonymous critics on social media that would have one believe that Jeffco is the ultimate failure in education. This is untrue and it’s a disservice to our children as well as the entire community. Jeffco has been holding steady despite a lack of funding and no significant investment for 13 years now.
Jeffco Schools has been known previously as a destination district for educators and parents alike. It can be again, when we all work together. Colorado Community Media made a statement in support of a mill and bond need for Jeffco Schools in 2016. The Sterling Journal Advocate took it a step further, “it’s time to step up and be a leader for the district.”