Potential Mill and Bond for Jeffco Schools
In 2012, at this time, we had been educating the community (remember more than 70% of the community doesn’t touch the schools and has no idea of the needs) for more than a year. People were informed and we had an army of moms, dads, grandparents, neighbors, business community members and educators all working together to inform everyone that we would lose teachers, music programs, instructional coaches, digital teacher librarians, and support staff, etc. We won that election by a small percentage and that was an enlightened community.
Where are we now?
We have deferred maintenance that hasn’t occurred due to a pitiful budget caused by state funding and real needs beyond the warm, safe and dry of 2012 haven’t been addressed for years, partially due to the failed mill and bond of 2008. We have an average age of school buildings of 45 years and even carpet that hasn’t been replaced in some of those buildings due to lack of funding and that extremely old carpet that our children sit on doesn’t even begin to reveal the extreme needs that you can’t see entering a building, including lead issues, plumbing issues, HVAC, electrical, etc.
In 2012, the community said yes and we still had to make $6 million in cuts even while the mill brought us $39 million in new dollars. We wanted to fix the statewide issue and not overburden our community. We have never restored the $63 million in cuts that were made previously. Fixing that state issue hasn’t been successful; pay attention to your upcoming elections for state legislators!
We’re more than two years behind in educating the community about the needs of our district. SBB has been a detriment for some communities and a bonus for others. We are no longer one Jeffco. We are branded at many schools and looking for students to fill seats and have created competition for funding. The goal was never to take and attract students from Adams or Westminster. The goal should be to serve Jeffco students and continue that tradition of excellence.
There are still more than 86,000 kids waiting on you. They get one chance at each grade for a bright future. So here are a few facts that we hope you’ll consider:
- Having a good teacher can make all the difference in a classroom. In Jeffco, we must retain and attract the best teachers. Surrounding districts are paying nineteen percent more than Jeffco. We don’t have the funding to recognize our experienced staff who sacrificed by taking a 3% pay cut during past budget cuts and are being paid below average salaries.
- Maintaining a safe environment where students can learn without worrying about being harmed. (The children in our schools should not have to worry about being harmed while at school. The district is committed to protecting their safety and security, and a review of the facilities has identified high priority safety and security needs at our schools that could be funded by a ballot measure.)
- We must provide students with the instruction and skills necessary for success in college and the workplace.
- This includes promoting the teaching of skills and technology necessary to prepare students to compete for 21st century jobs.
- Providing hands‐on learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, sometimes called STEM.
- Continuing the district’s commitment to high academic standards and accountability.
- The average school building in Jefferson County is 45 years old. Many of the heating and cooling systems, boilers, and plumbing are dated and inefficient.
- In the last five years, Jeffco Public Schools has received 481 million dollars LESS from the state of Colorado than was supposed to be budgeted. And there are more budget cuts on the way. We need to work together to support our kids and teachers, and provide them with safe, well maintained classrooms and school buildings. We can do it but it does mean we will have tough decisions ahead of us.
- Looking forward, we must think about expanding our ability for schools being able to provide students with hands‐on, real world experience – whether that is health care training in a vocational program, creating a middle school science experiment that was rocketed into space, or learning computer coding in elementary school. Students need these kinds of skills to go on to college and the jobs of the future.
- Every single school in the district has some repair need, with many of them facing critical ones like leaky roofs, faulty wiring, outdated fire alarms, and other basic needs. Funding approved by voters in 2012 fixed the most urgent needs on time and within budget, but state cuts has caused a growing repair backlog.
- We need to make sure that our public schools continue to be some of the best in the metro area. The value of our homes is increased by the good reputation of our schools.
So, if you want to help spread the word to our community, we’ve created a brochure and handout for you to download, print, share, send to others – whatever opportunities you have!