At the Board meeting last night, there was extensive discussion surrounding retaining and rewarding staff. With 3A not passing, what is available to do for our staff while we are paying up to 19% less than surrounding districts is a huge concern for all of us.
If you’re a parent and you’ve not thought of this, well, you should start thinking about the impacts to your children when we lose valuable and experienced staff members. Chief Human Resources Officer Amy Weber noted that one of the things that Jeffco used to do before cuts started in 2009 that has never been restored is our credit for years served. That prevents many experienced staff from coming to serve Jeffco. We hope the Board will give this some serious consideration.
As we all know, Jeffco lost a tremendous number of staff members under the recalled majority’s years. Jeffco Exodus told the stories here – http://www.jeffcoexodus.com/stories.html.
Many people are now regretting that they didn’t help with the mill and bond campaign. It was the same in 2013. What we do have is a Board who wants to listen to the community and keep the consequences of the no vote from negatively impacting students and staff.
Colorado’s system is interesting to say the least. Not only do property tax increases NOT increase school funding but going to the voters to make funding decisions and a campaign run by the grassroots community is a requirement. In a county as large as Jeffco, that takes an extreme number of volunteers.
What can parents and community members do now?
As a community, we need to continue to help educate our friends, neighbors, co-workers, other parents, family members, and our business community. Do you know the facts and feel you can answer questions from your contacts? If not, please let us know your questions so we can give you tools to do this.
In the meantime, we must support our great staff members who have committed to remain in Jeffco. We know they don’t stay just for the money, that’s been proven endlessly as they endured impacts to their retirement through taking a 3% cut to their salaries for two years to keep cuts away from our classrooms. One favorite teacher noted that the no vote felt like being hit in the gut and was an indication of how much the community values her. She wasn’t alone in that sentiment, other staff members have since said the same.
How do we make our staff feel valued?
We’ll start the list and we’re asking you to add to it. Remember, our staff goes far beyond your classroom teacher. All staff are necessary and should feel valued – paras, bus drivers, the school attendance secretary, the principal, the support staff at the Ed Center, the digital teacher librarian, the art and music teachers, the security staff, etc.
- Say it! Send in nice cards, get out of your car and go inside your school to say hello and thank you.
- Get to know them. What’s their favorite drink at Starbucks? Drop in unexpectedly and deliver that favorite drink just to show your thanks! You can buy a tray of the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks to take in to the office staff too!
- Lakewood High School just organized a pie week! Parents made a sign-up genius and people signed up to deliver different flavors to show appreciation to staff. Don’t wait for staff appreciation day in May, show them now!
- Send a thank you email or ecard. Don’t ask for anything, just send your appreciative thoughts in words.
- Make cookies and deliver them to the Ed Center or Quail building staff members.
The work environment of our staff is also the learning environment for our children. Help create a happy Jeffco so everyone knows they are valued. Though we didn’t win 3A and 3B this year, more than 154,000 people did vote yes!