SJK was formed from strong volunteers after the last mill and bond election with a desire to keep those who supported public education in constant communication and not have to continually rebuild the network each year when we need to take action. We recognized that it was difficult to participate and stay informed with the many meetings on top of parenting and other life obligations.
We sought support for this effort after that 2012 election and due to burnout after the successful campaign, there wasn’t a desire to continue. The community learned the necessity of staying involved after the results of the 2013 election where not many volunteers showed up to help.
We are quite proud of the work SJK has done since we were legally formed in January 2014. We have done great work identifying candidates who support public education, pulled volunteers across the county together to take our schools back from outside interests, shared extensive information about funding and other issues in public education, held a fantastic safety event, organized volunteers to testify at the Capitol and for other causes, as well as our favorite event celebrating the community, Love Jeffco!
It’s been a tremendous effort and though we’re all exhausted, we still have so much more work to do! We have endorsed the 3A 3B ballot initiative to support a mill and bond for our incredible Jeffco Schools and we need to get the information out into the community.
We need your help to do this and while we recognize there is exhaustion in the community again, this is a necessity.
We all love living in Jefferson County! It’s beautiful, it’s accessible, the views are incredible and breathtaking, and there are bountiful opportunities while raising a family and getting the most out of life.
Jeffco is the 2nd largest school district in Colorado. One of the largest in the nation! We have more than 86,000 students and this population has been growing for the last few years. Each family seeks an excellent education for their children and quality opportunities for their futures.
The return on investment for students and families in Jeffco has been tremendous!
Jeffco graduates for the Class of 2016 received scholarship offers totaling over $80 million. (In 2012 that number was $54M).
- Jeffco Public Schools has 22 students included on the list of semifinalists in the National Merit Scholar Program. http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/media/releases/2016/2016.09.19_national_merit_semifinalists.pdf
- In April of this year, Jeffco had 8 high schools named in the U.S. News 50 top high schools in Colorado: D’Evelyn, Evergreen, Conifer, Lakewood, Chatfield, Ralston Valley, Dakota Ridge, and Bear Creek.
Reference District press release. Test results – Jeffco Students also continue to outperform the state:
For 2016, Jeffco Public School Students’
- average ACT scores for English, Reading, Science and the overall composite score reached their highest level in the five-year trend reports.
- ACT performance exceeds state performance across all indicators.
- outperformed the state across all subjects on the 2016 PSAT 10, the first year of state-wide implementation for tenth grade students in Colorado.
- 2016 CMAS results were positive for Jeffco, with students outperforming the state once again.
School districts across Colorado continue to suffer from insufficient funding from the state. The Negative Factor remains close to a billion dollars (dollars per Amendment 23 that our schools are NOT receiving).
With the Negative Factor:
- Colorado spent $ -2,053 less than the U.S. Average, ranking 40th.
With No Negative Factor:
- Colorado would rank 28th, spending $ -816 less than the U.S. Average. 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.
“By law, the first $40 million of the state excise tax collections goes to fund capital improvements for schools in rural areas, where it’s much harder to raise money to fix roofs, replace air conditioning systems or build an annex.
…none of the money collected on marijuana goes for operating costs in school districts. Put simply, reefer hires roofers, not teachers. And, compared to the long list of capital needs throughout the state, not nearly enough roofers.
The remaining pot tax revenue that doesn’t go to fix rural schools goes to marijuana education, treatment, regulation and enforcement programs.
The pot revenue hasn’t offset big cuts in K-12 funding that have occurred in recent years as a result of the so-called “negative factor” that has reduced school funding by $800 million below the level of where it was before the cuts. Colorado has dropped from 23rd in per pupil funding in 1993 to 40th now, and our per pupil funding is now $2,000 below the national average.”
Chris Stiffler is an economist for the Colorado Fiscal Institute.
Denver Post – August 12, 2016
Note: $40 million of the state excise tax collections go to fund capital improvements for schools in rural areas – This is called the BEST Program: Building Excellent Schools Today.
The BEST Program is a competitive grant program available to all public school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.
We cannot depend on the state for increased funding for schools.
We know funds generated by 3A and 3B will stay in Jeffco and benefit our students.
- All funds generated by 3A and 3B will be overseen by the citizens’ financial oversight committee(http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/finance/financial_oversight.html )
- and the capital asset advisory committee (http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/community/capital_asset_advisory_committee/index.html ) to ensure transparency and accountability.
A great value for Jeffco Schools and Jeffco citizens!
- 3A and 3B will cost Jeffco homeowners $4.12 per month per $100,000 of home value.
- (For the average homeowner in Jefferson County – someone with a $300,000 home – that’s $12.36 per month.)
- My custom coffee at Starbucks is $6.74 (even that increased in the last few weeks) and lasts about 45 minutes. For only $4.12 a month, you can join in taking care of more than 86,000 students and help to build bright futures for them.
About our school buildings…
- The average school building in Jeffco is more than 45 years old.
- Many of the heating and cooling systems, boilers, and plumbing are dated and inefficient.
- 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.
- 2004 was the last time this district had any major capital projects: built any new school buildings or had any real construction projects such as adding on classrooms. That was 12 years ago.
- Our Bond in 2012 ($99 M) was a band-aid (Warm, Safe, & Dry) – 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.
- Let’s face it, with Jeffco Schools’ 12 million square foot of schools and support buildings, valued at nearly $2.5 billion on 3,700 acres of land, $99 million just doesn’t go very far.
- For detailed information on the 2004 Bond: http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/schools/construction/index.html
More than 115,000 people use the facilities of Jeffco Schools EVERY DAY (176 total buildings.)
Think about that kind of wear and tear!
The National PTA “believes the school environment significantly impacts students’ academic achievement…
…affirms that adequate school facilities are not only crucial to the success of our nation’s public schools, but they are also a reflection of and resource for the communities in which they are located. Since school facilities are a capital asset constituting a large investment of public funds, the National PTA desires that all school facilities encourage community utilization and involvement…”
What would happen at my school?
Check out the information on the Jeffco Schools webpage!
What is 3A?
3A is a Mill Levy Override that will provide $33 million in operating expenses specifically to be used for:
Continuing Jeffco’s commitment to education excellence
- by attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and support staff through a transparent and competitive compensation system;
- providing students with the instruction, skills and hands-on learning necessary for success in college and the workplace,
- through the expansion of “STEM” programs (science, technology, math, and engineering), as well as arts, music and vocational programs;
- increasing school security resources
- including additional counselors and student support professionals inside and outside the classroom,
- school safety education and liaisons to police, fire and 911 dispatch centers.
What is 3B?
3B is a Bond for capital funding that will provide $535 million for long-term costs including:
- Providing safety and security upgrades in school buildings; 110 elementary, middle and high school buildings will receive repairs and improvements long overdue including roofs, plumbing, electrical, lighting and mechanical systems; providing more opportunities for Jeffco students to learn in safe and quality learning environments by extending the life of these existing schools and better utilization of district facilities.
- Equipping our schools with updated technology
- to ensure all Jeffco students have access to learning tools to better prepare them for college and the workforce;
- Improving and repairing Outdoor Lab,
- Better utilization of district resources
- by expanding and equipping old and new school buildings,
- increasing classroom space and learning labs, and
- equipping and furnishing them.
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Link to District’s Bond Summary and Mill Outline (July 2016)- http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/files/AC3TC77572CB/$file/HANDOUT%202016%20BondSummaryandMillOutline%20061616.pdf
Link to District’s Bond Financing Info (July 2016) – http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/files/AC8SFF727490/$file/PRESENTATION%20Bond%20Financing%20rev.pdf
Link to District’s Bond Outline (July 2016) – http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/files/AC3TC97576B8/$file/HANDOUT%202016%20BondOutlined%20061616.pdf