Your Voice Matters

If you’ve taken a look at Board Docs and read the correspondence, you’ll see there are still many people who don’t understand education funding or the impacts of 3A and 3B not passing or even the actual facts about 3A and 3B.

Beyond the ridiculous “union board” nasty letters, one individual quoted the amount for the bond as $300M MORE than the initiative.  It was never $800M, the amount was $535M and the items were itemized per facility. The writer went on to call COP’s shady practice. Even though it’s a common and recommended practice by finance experts. A simple Google search would have helped the writer (who has apparently been reading fake news) – “A Participation Certificate (PC) (also known as a Certificate of Participation) is a financial instrument, a form of financing, used by municipal or government entities which allows an individual to buy a share of the lease revenue of an agreement made by these entities.”

Another was angry at the board for wanting to work on teacher salaries and that’s why she didn’t vote for the bond. This person who “normally supports public education” had no idea that a bond is for buildings and mill is for funding items like salaries. Knowing the tragic loss of staff we’ve experienced and that we are paying up to 19% less than surrounding districts makes attracting and retaining staff a fiduciary obligation for our Board of Education. Schools are nothing without the staff that serves the children.

Bravo to our Board for enduring so many unethical and distasteful letters and remaining professional. As an unpaid, volunteer position, Board Members spend an unbelievable amount of time reviewing documents and asking questions to guide the district in it’s mission to serve all students.

Ultimately, their task is to connect the community with the school district. They are our elected leaders who bring our voices to the table. They are also tasked with making decisions with extremely limited and shrinking resources that impact the ways our schools are able to serve our students.

As previous Board Members have stated, it takes nearly two years to begin understanding the full duties and scope of a Director of the Board of Education. As regular community members wanting to help support our amazing school district, this is no easy or simple task and the endless hours of study and requested attendance for meetings outside of board obligations is never ending. Truly, it’s a full-time, unpaid, volunteer job.

They have difficult decisions to make in the coming months. Jeffco School Board Watch wrote an interesting blog today that some may want to think through – http://jeffcoschoolboardwatch.org/?p=4272.

The letters to the Board of Education show us many things.

  1. The community is still uninformed about facts. We need to do a better job bringing the community to the table and communicating what is going on. While this responsibility falls to the district, we can help by sharing correct information and informing our own friends.
  2. Our voices are important. Writing to the Board is actually quite crucial. They represent the community. If you aren’t telling them your feelings and desires, they can’t possibly take the pulse of the community themselves and this leaves them with only the distasteful and inaccurate letters to read.
  3. Allowing them to be called the “union selected board” is not okay. This is our job to correct this information. 65% of the voters elected all 5 Board of Education Directors. It’s up to us to support them.

We’d like to see the Board and district staff develop a unified vision for where they want to take our beloved Jeffco Schools and what legacy they want to leave behind their days of service in favor of all 86,000 children. What will Jeffco be known for in the coming months? We were known as pure excellence and envied by nearly every other district until we met turmoil with the recalled board members. The Board has so much work in front of them. Repairing so much damage caused by that recalled board, addressing staff turnover, budget cuts and severe facility issues while adhering to their fiduciary duties is no small task.

We need a vision, strong leadership, passion and the community to serve Jeffco Schools.

By the way, the recalled board members have not gone away. Mr. Newkirk has been writing critical and inaccurate letters to the Board and to the Columbine Courier regularly and apparently is now working under Representative Tim Leonard (recently released from a contempt charge – http://www.coloradoindependent.com/162796/state-sen-tim-leonard-contempt-charge) as a Legislative Aide. Legislative Aides just received a raise so our recalled board member will be making $12.50 per hour of taxpayer dollars in his new job at our Capitol.

Your voice matters. Get involved and write the board, go to meetings, and share information. Three seats are up in November and your help is needed.

86,000 children are depending on you.

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