After voting unanimously to approve the Facilities Master Plan, which has been updated based on community input and no longer includes school closures, the BoE directed district staff to investigate the possibility of running a bond that would not exceed $535 million and a mill levy override that would not exceed $33 million on the November 2016 ballot. The district will spend the summer months engaging and polling the community so the BoE can make a final decision in August.
District COO, Steve Bell presented three bond packages and talked about how the four identified priorities would be handled in each scenario. The four priorities are grade reconfiguration (the BoE voted unanimously to switch to a K-5, 6-8 model except where there are 7-12 schools), growth and/or equity, efficiencies, and deferred maintenance in that order. The three packages were based on $420 million, $485 million, and $535 million bonds. A $535 million bond would cost a taxpayer who has a $300,000 home (average for JeffCo) $4.30 a month.
During the discussion about a mill levy, Mr. Rupert stated that his priorities are great teachers and enough seats and “we need to remain competitive [and] prioritize compensation.” Ms. Lasell continued to push for prioritization of educator compensation throughout the meeting, saying “we have just begun where compensation is concerned [and] we are getting better but we are not competitive.” CLICK HERE
to read more about last night’s meeting.
As educators in JeffCo who understand all too well the impact that a $77 million yearly shortfall in funding has on our students, we need to step up and be a significant part of this discussion and decision. John Ford offered the following public comment at last night’s BoE meeting:
For more than 50 years, JCEA has been the voice of professional educators in JeffCo and has pushed to improve and support high-quality teaching and learning conditions in our community.
We are interested now to hear more about potential mill and bond packages from this Board.
I know, given the way this board has respected educators and parents since taking office, you understand the importance of seeking the input of professional educators in decisions like these that will impact the lives of our students not just now but for years to come.
We are excited about this board continuing conversations with our teachers and community members about the right way to move JeffCo forward.
Similar to your engagement around the Facilities Master Plan, JCEA urges this board to go out to your constituents, parents, community members, educators, business leaders and students, and ask them what a potential mill/bond package would look like.
I am excited to continue moving forward to realize the schools our students deserve. Creating schools with things like expanded learning opportunities and early childhood education.
In closing, we know that having quality educators in every classroom is a key component of student success. This means that retaining and recruiting the best quality staff and continually enhancing learning conditions to deliver the schools our students deserve is JCEAs top priority.
JCEA will go through a process to determine whether we will support a mill and/or bond after the BoE makes its decision in August. In the meantime, we need to continue talking to members, potential members, and our community about the Schools JeffCo Students Deserve. Please pledge to spend one day this summer volunteering with JCEA. We are phone banking and visiting our colleagues at their homes to talk about our shared vision and what we need for our students to be successful.
CLICK HERE to sign up to volunteer.