From the Jeffco School Board: Support for School Funding

Posted on: October 31, 2018
Posted By: Christine Wiggins
Posted in: Community News

Jeffco Generations is an appropriate name for Jeffco Public School’s vision. In the course of my life, I have been a Jeffco student, teacher, principal, and now proud school board member. This November, a YES on 5A & 5B helps secure quality education today and for generations to come.

We are seeking support to competitively pay educators, increase mental health and counseling supports, improve safety and security, and create quality learning environments for all students. In 2016, Jeffco Public Schools was one of six metro area districts that asked voters for an investment in schools. Five passed. Jeffco’s did not. We cannot fall further behind.

Jeffco cannot afford to be a world-class training ground for teachers who leave our classrooms for higher pay in nearby districts. Nor can we delay in supporting the best learning and life opportunities for students–including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and college and career pathways. 5A provides ongoing dollars to bring classrooms to life, while 5B invests in school buildings.

The average age of our school buildings is 50 years. It is time to renew and repair existing schools. We also have high growth areas that require new schools, and several buildings that simply must be replaced. The good news is our investment can result in savings in ongoing energy and repair costs, at a time when borrowing rates are reasonable.

As a lifelong Jeffco community member, who is proud to serve our students and community, I urge voters to vote YES on 5A & 5B. We are thankful for the support and endorsement of multiple business organizations, school communities, local newspapers, and private citizens. It is time for this important local investment!

Ron Mitchell
Jeffco Board of Education President

I was a Jeffco 3rd grader the last time Colorado was near the national average in per pupil funding—about 35 years ago. Today, we trail $2,800 below the national average in per pupil funding. Colorado teachers are among the least competitively paid teachers in the nation. Compounding the problem, since the recession $7 billion in voter-approved, constitutional funding has been withheld from schools through the negative (budget stabilization) factor. Jeffco has not received nearly $700 million in state funding over the last decade.

Local investment in Jeffco Schools is critical for competitive wages, secure learning environments, and ensuring equitable opportunities for all students. However, due to statewide budget constraints, we continue to find ourselves swimming in a riptide, drifting still further from the national average.

Amendment 73 will generate the funds to move Colorado near, but not quite at, the national average for per pupil funding. It stabilizes school property taxes as the third lowest in the nation for homeowners, and provides savings to business property owners, farmers, and ranchers who have gone decades with no property tax relief. Amendment 73 asks the wealthiest 8% of Coloradans and large corporations to invest a little more in the workforce of the future. It will begin to bring balance to a tax code that currently sees middle-income earners–our teachers, firefighters, and working families–paying a bigger portion of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthiest Coloradans.

Amendment 73 is good for all Colorado schools, and 5A & 5B target specific improvements for our Jeffco community. YES on 73, 5A & 5B!

Amanda Stevens
Jeffco Board of Education

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