Welcome Back 2018-2019

We’re a tiny bit late on our welcome back 2018-2019 post due to a broken water main (more on that later, because it is a great story!)

Here’s your message from Jonna:

Welcome back Jeffco students, teachers, school staff, and Jeffco families to the 2018-2019 school year!   A new school year signifies fresh beginnings with great hopes and potential, and lots of opportunity.

Today, there’s a sense of real opportunity in the air in Jeffco, and a positive feeling about what’s to come.

For the first time in years, we enjoy stability in our school district leadership.

  • Our five school board members have been in place long enough now to have earned the confidence and trust of the community. They’ve made it a point to be present in the community and in our schools and have worked to be inclusive with all of our Jeffco community members.  Rebuilding the relationship with our teachers and staff was among their first priorities.  And, they’ve hired a superintendent who shares their priorities and sense of urgency to bring our community back together; and work toward reclaiming Jeffco’s status we once enjoyed as a state and national leader.
  • Our superintendent, Dr. Glass is in his second year with Jeffco. He spent his first year at the helm of our district getting to know our community and staff, and has come to understand and share the board’s sense of urgency in accomplishing those priorities that will help Jeffco attract the best educators and staff in the area – making Jeffco a destination district that encourages economic growth by drawing more businesses, and families, as well as teachers and staff.

This summer Shawna and I were proud to have been selected to participate in the school district’s Safety and Security Task Force. Jeffco’s Safety and Security is known nationally as The Gold Standard and the department’s leaders are frequently called upon, on a national basis, as advisors and consultants.  Our community is truly blessed to have such expertise and dedication.  That being said, the district organized the citizens’ safety and security task force this summer to review procedures and resources – because the threats don’t decrease and there’s always room for improvement.  We’ve seen more violence, as a nation, and Jeffco schools haven’t been immune from that, and if you are surprised by that news, it’s because the Jeffco schools safety and security team has been doing their job really well – they keep a 24 -7 schedule monitoring activity in our schools and campuses.  What we, as a “task force”, learned is there are many things our district can do including adding more mental health resources in our schools, adding more School Resource Officers, providing more training for staff (educators and security), figuring out how to supplement the cost of the SROs provided at the expense of our local law enforcement partners, and the list goes on.  One thing in common with almost all of the recommendations that will come from this task force is they all require additional funding.  Safe and secure schools for our children and staff do not come cheap.  The additional resources required come at a cost for new personnel to brick and mortar kinds of enhancements.  All of it will require funding our school district does not currently have.

So what about the opportunity?

Our district is finally in a position to look to the future. As a state, we are ranked the 2nd highest performing economy in the nation. It’s time, as a community, to make some serious commitments and take some significant steps in making up for losses we endured during the tough years. Today more than any recent year, folks in our state understand the need our public schools have for significantly more funding.  They agree our teachers need better pay so they are no longer required to work two or three jobs to provide for their families, and can own a home in the same district they work in.  They understand the difference early childhood education can make and full day kindergarten should be funded where it’s offered.  So now is the time to make these things happen.

We are ready.  We don’t want to be listed among the states that underfund public education.  In Jeffco, our community is ready.  We want to be better.  Be more.  Give our kids more.  

SJK has been a key supporter of  Amendment 73 (Great Schools, Thriving Communities, #GSTC2018). It creates sustainable support for our public schools and relief to the state budget through a graduated income tax where 92% of the states filers will not be impacted.  It’s a long term fix for funding our legislature has not been able to address.

Amendment 73 would mean $135 million additional annual revenue for Jeffco.  Statewide it raises $1.6 Billion statewide for our public schools.

Of course, Amendment 73 is not the only option for increasing funding for our schools.  Our school board is giving serious thought to asking voters to support a bond to address long overdue facilities needs.  Our schools’ and facilities’ true needs exceed $1 billion, the district is considering asking for $567 million.  Our last real capital construction came with the approval of the 2004 bond – 14 years ago.  The district is way behind in addressing these needs.   Additionally, the district/board is considering a mill levy override of $33 million for operating funds to put toward increased teacher salaries, and increase mental health resources, among other needs categorized as operational expenses.

Voters may have a lot to consider this November. If we really want to reclaim the status as a state and national leader, we need to commit to really funding our schools.  It’s time to be more.  Give our kids more. 

Since the inception of SJK, we have never had this kind of opportunity to enhance the future of our schools.

 

Your message from Shawna:

SJK Jr. (aka Morgan) started high school this year and, as usual, it occurred to me how fast this was all going. There were a few tears on the first day (from me, not her) as she starts the last phase of our Jeffco experience. The first day of school is always an occasion for both parents and students and we can all agree that we have the cutest kids in Colorado. Check out one of the videos we made for you last year:

While we celebrate the first day occasion, I hope we’re always thinking about what we’re doing for these children as well as what we’re not doing. In one year, as a state, we took another $828 Million from their education. That’s a year they’ll never get back as they move toward their futures and depend on us to help them reach their stars.

There is nothing more important than our children and they are the very future of Jeffco. These adorable children will run our businesses, provide our services, and the economy largely depends on their success.

I hope you have all joined your PTA and if you don’t have one, you’ll join Jeffco PTA. It is more important than ever before to be advocates for our children and to work together to make a difference in education for all children in Colorado.

I hope that you’re taking the time to be an active part of your PTA, your school accountability committee, and that you’re ready to join us in volunteering for ballot initiatives. I know it’s a lot of work on top of all of the other things we do but it really is crucial that you put in this time to help make things happen. More hands make for a lighter load and we must join together as a community.

We need new parents continually stepping up into advocacy roles, at your school, on district committees, and in the community. Your time is valued and you are an important part of the community as a parent. Your voice matters so much!

Ironically, Morgan was born in 2004, the year of the last major investment Jeffco made in our schools. She’s in high school now and this is unacceptable for her as well as every other one of our 86,000 children in our Jeffco Schools today. Just one year makes a huge difference in the life of a child.

2018 can be the year we choose to take care of our children, our schools, and our teachers and staff. It is up to us to make it happen!

We wish you and our wonderful students an amazing 2018-2019 school year! Join us in making it the best yet by volunteering! Just email us at mailto:volunteer@supportjeffcokids.org