Tough Times for Jeffco

Our school board has some difficult decisions facing them. Decisions that may very likely have a lasting effect on our school district for years to come and lay in place a path for where Jeffco could stand (or once stood) as a leader in the state.

Over the past several years, our school district has been through and seen a lot. Only through our resilience as a community (parents, teachers and staff, and many dedicated community leaders) have we survived and even come out on top.

As a reminder of the good times and bad times, we offer you this look back:

2011 – Only through The Employee Summit, an unprecedented agreement between it’s employee associations and district leadership and board (for which those leaders were recognized nationally) where our staff agreed to take an across-the-board 3% pay cut, was the district able to survive one of the worse financial crises in it’s history. Cuts in state funding (a result of the Great Recession) had devastated our ability to keep programs and staff.

2012 – For a second year, the district relied on the Employee Summit as it again faced cuts from the state and was looking at another $43 million in the 2012-13 school year. Our staff took year two of the 3% pay cuts (agreed to in the Employee Summit). Our community and staff joined together to pass the 2012 mill/bond costing the taxpayers a “dime a day.” This was only intended to stop the bleeding. These were not new dollars for fun things. These funds were to help us avoid making more cuts – not adding anything bright, shiny or new.

2013 – Our community disengaged. They assumed because we stopped the bleeding the district no longer needed their attention. They were wrong and Witt, Newkirk, and Williams were elected to the Jeffco School Board.

2013-2015 –Jeffco managed to survive the path of destruction laid out by WNW, but not without taking some heavy hits. We lost our nationally recognized Superintendent of 12 years and all but one of our key district cabinet leaders.   We lost a record number of staff – they left the district in large numbers like never before seen.   We all witnessed decisions being made behind the scenes with an unfounded lack of transparency and accountability. The Jeffco community was totally disregarded and disrespected, and the district’s boardroom was crowded beyond capacity on a regular basis. There were questionable financial decisions and hires made with little to no accountability.

2015 – In November, WNW were recalled (by an impressive 65% of voters) after the community had had enough. A non-partisan effort brought about by community (even though to this day, the supporters of WNW would say differently). We rejoiced in our election of 5 new board members who understood the pain our community and staff had endured.

Unfortunately, today the district and board are faced with drastic budget decisions, the result of our failure to pass the mill/bond; and they have to make a decision about district leadership that might determine a new direction for Jeffco.

Because of the enormous impact these board decisions will have on our community, we urge the board to bend over backwards to make sure they don’t do what WNW did and disregard community input.

Now more than ever, we need our board members to be present, visible, and good listeners. They need to be thoughtful and good stewards. We urge them to share their vision and we want to be inspired.

That being said, we borrowed these wise words from a highly respected, former district leader to remind us why we all do what we do.

At our very core, (especially staff) :

Why? (What is our purpose?)

  • Kids and Teachers

  • Cost Effectiveness

  • Safety and Security

  • Parent Engagement

 

“Employees in every organization, at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and inspirational.”

 Be

  • Motivated

  • Engaged

  • Inspired, and

  • All in

 

Invoking the words of Simon Sinek:

“There are only two ways you can influence human behavior:
You can manipulate it
Or you can inspire it.”

 

“Those who are able to inspire will create a following of people who act for the good of the whole, not because they have to but because they want to.”

 

Notice a common theme? We did.

#WeAreJeffco  #IncludeUs  #InspireUs