Dear Mr. Gorski:
Thank you for writing the article in today’s Denver Post re: the shutdown of Conifer and Standley Lakes High Schools. If you write another article about the Jeffco School Board, you may want to provide your readers with more background about the consistently aggressive and fiscally imprudent actions that the new board majority has taken since it was elected, including:
(1) hiring an extra attorney, at significant taxpayer expense, even though the school district already had an attorney;
(2) pushing out Cindy Stevenson, Jeffco’s nationally-recognized school superintendent, despite her record of improving Jeffco students’ achievements;
(3) searching for a new superintendent (again at taxpayer expense);
(4) paying the new superintendent up to $280,000 per year (compare that to the salary for a new teacher — $38,000 per year);
(5) pulling $600,000 away from full-day kindergarten at schools with lower-income populations, while giving an extra $5.5 million to charter schools (which serve higher-income children); and
(6) losing $1.3 million in state funding that could have been used to send more children to preschool and kindergarten by ending the use of a school readiness kindergarten assessment.
I am sure that I have missed a few, but if you would like more information I could ask other, more knowledgeable Jeffco parents to provide it to you.
Jeffco parents, staff, and teachers are particularly upset with the new board’s most recent proposal – the curriculum censorship committee. Like all of us, Jeffco schools are imperfect. But problems should be identified, prioritized, and addressed with surgical precision, based on credible data and professional
input, not with a sledgehammer. The proposed curriculum censorship committee is a sledgehammer, based on ideas rather than data.
The new Jeffco school board majority is acting like a bully. It pokes and pokes at the teachers and staff. Early on, I taught my children to stand up for themselves against bullies, and it worked — my kids are not bullied. In my view, the teacher walkouts last week at the two high schools are just like that — the teachers are standing up for themselves and telling the board that they will no longer be bullied. But, like most bullies, the new board majority refuses to acknowledge that it caused the problem in the first place.
With so many children’s educational experiences on the line, I hope that you remain engaged in this issue, writing fact-based stories that provide your readers with as much context as possible.
Julia Brunner (mother of two boys in Jeffco schools)