Here’s what they say:
Transparency: Made the school board meetings more inclusive and transparent than ever by live online streaming, enabling people to watch and speak at the meeting from home or watch the video tape at their convenience. Required that the teacher union negotiations be streamed online for public viewing – a first that was fought by the union.
The streaming is nice to have but, no, you can’t speak from home. It IS easier to mute things at home when you’re upset with the disrespect from Board President Ken Witt and need a break from the atrocious behavior. The problem is that they don’t have real discussions at the Board Meeting and slam through action items with 3-2 votes with little to no discussion or opportunity for public comment. Like the DAC committee and like the way they hired their own attorney, Brad Miller. Thankfully, there’s video. Public comment was ALWAYS allowed, but now the rules change constantly without warning and time is reduced. You never know if you’ll have one minute or three minutes to address them. But you do know that they won’t listen.
The union also never fought about streaming negotiations. The community questioned the additional cost to do this as the previous mediator used was free. The Board Majority think they have endless buckets of money just sitting around and wasted this – it could have gone to students and the classrooms while almost no one watched the online streaming. Meanwhile, they won’t adequately fund security to keep our children safe.Equal Access: For the first time, this board expanded free full-time kindergarten directly to families of need (free or reduced lunch students – FRL). In the past, free kindergarten was given to the whole school (even those students who didn’t qualify) if a certain % of the school met the FRL standard. FRL students in schools that did not qualify could not get free full time kindergarten. Now the families that need it get it and at a cost savings to the district.
Actually, no! Prior to the $78 million in cuts that started in 2009, there were many more schools that offered free full-day kindergarten as an option. Many locations were cut due to state funding issues. In 2014, more than 13,000 community members asked for the restoration for that program through the community budget survey but were ignored by the Board Majority. In the last calendar year, 40 schools offered free full-day kindergarten as an option but this year due to SBB and limited funding, only 32 schools offer it. And let’s be real, families who can’t afford lunch or can’t afford a reduced fee of $0.20 for school lunch can’t afford transportation to one of those fewer 32 locations to get free full-day kindergarten. What a ridiculous claim!
Pay: Negotiated a contract with the union in open sessions and gave raises to all but 66 less-than-effective teachers two years running. Along with raises, these contracts included increases in retirement and health care costs funded 100% by the district. They also raised the starting teacher salary to be competitive with other districts to attract great teachers as well as raised current teacher’s pay to be in line with new hires. The evaluation of a teacher’s performance considers individual student growth during the year (regardless of how behind they were at the beginning of the year) rather than simply scoring high on a test.
Reinstated pay for master’s degrees and raised the compensation of Jeffco’s current teachers who received appropriate degrees, since payment for those degrees had stopped.
First, let’s be clear that the union voted to open negotiations prior to this board even talking about it and even prior to SB104. Now let’s also not insult our teachers by stating that we’ve done them a service. They’re insulted after a pay freeze AND 3% reduction they took to keep our kids out of the cuts. Most teachers have received less than a 1% raise and some are even making LESS than last year. Additionally, we have teachers on welfare and new teachers make less than a manager at McDonald’s or a customer service person at Home Depot. The agreement with the teachers was also a 10 month slap in the face. This entire claim is a flat out lie and one of the reasons that we’ve lost 1000 of them to serve our children.Supported Protection: of student &teacher privacy by throwing out the overly intrusive data collection systems of previous administration and setting protectors for personally identifiable information of students and staff.
Again, another lie. Jeffco Schools NEVER gave out data that would put our students at risk and overseas hackers are not interested in your child’s DIBELS scores. This is one they used just to scare the living daylights out of parents.
They also say “union” – the “union” is responsible for absolutely everything that they don’t like, including the recall. Julie Williams doesn’t like “educrats” – her favorite derogatory word of choice at Board Meetings.