Wednesday News: 7/1 JeffCo Roundup

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From Chalkbeat Colorado: On first day, McMinimee calms and challenges Jeffco staff

Our Comment on the above article:  The subject category that Chalkbeat placed this story under says a lot:  “Soothing Suburbia.”  The article mentions positive and upbeat comments from a couple of staff members, but also states that the gathering of 200+ employees in the Board room was mainly silent despite McMinimee’s effort to ‘draw them out’.  McMinimee’s speech was apparently filled with references that he did not advocate change ‘but continuous improvement’.  These comments, for us at least, call to mind Witt’s promises of no major changes and that JeffCo was not DougCo.  Words seem to come easy to McMinimee.  But we remember that he was picked by WNW.  It is his actions that will show whether those words actually mean something, or are simply more banal patter from the puppet of amateur magicians desperately trying to distract us with their left hands from what their right hands are actually doing.

We would love to be proven wrong on this, but we would not advise betting on it.

From Chalkbeat Colorado: Lawsuit claims school funding reduction mechanism unconstitutional

Our Comment on the above article:  Amendment 23, passed by the Colorado voters in 2000, had as it’s goal to return to the same level of K-12 per pupil spending (adjusted for inflation) that existed in 1988.  It was to do this over ten years with a 1% above inflation increase per year.  It quickly ran the state into budget issues, especially after the dot.com bust recession of 2001/2 triggered the TABOR ‘rachet down’ on the state budget.  The Great Recession of 2007-09 reduced the state’s budget even more which the additional ‘rachet down’ of TABOR made even worse.  The state legislature responded in 2010 to the legal requirement of raising education spending while legally prohibited from raising taxes by resorting to a legal word trick.  The Amendment 23 spending is allocated, but then “adjusted” by the ‘negative factor’ which brings the actual spending down to something that does not bust the budget.

The failure of Amendment 66 has only exacerbated this.  This year, even though actual dollars from the state has gone up, the negative factor is still in place.  While there is a current ‘surplus’ in the state’s education fund, the Legislature and Governor have been reluctant to release all of it, fearful that the state would not be able to sustain the spending level that a one time lump sum dispersal would create.

This lawsuit by school districts, parents, and community groups challenges the negative factor for the first time.  The goal of the plaintiffs is to force the state to spend all of the education surplus right now.  If they win, then JeffCo could see a one-time boost in money from the state.

From Diane Ravitch’s blog:  Florida Charter Schools: Follow the Money to Scams and Profiteering

(Note:  Diane Ravitch was Assistant Secretary for Education under both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  She was an early supporter of “No Child Left Behind” and charter schools.  By the late 2000’s she had become disillusioned with the education ‘reform’ movement after statistics showed that charter schools performed near identically to regular public schools.  She has been quoted as saying, “The best predictor of low academic performance is poverty—not bad teachers.”  She has since launched her own blog, covering the education world in general and the actions (and effects) of the ‘reform’ movement specifically.  She make no pretense about being unbiased, but often has insightful and provocative commentary worth reading and considering.)

Our Comment on the above article:  There are those who believe in the power of a free market with the fervor of a religion.  Free markets, to their mind, can solve every ill of mankind, economic or social.   Of course, that belief requires that you also believe that 1) everyone is motivated by money most of all, and 2) that greed will not overwhelm the social conscience of important and powerful people.  In our opinion, this is more naive than an adult still believing in Santa Claus.  Florida is now just the latest state to have come bubbling up into view the corruption, incompetence, and misfeasance that seems to follow aggressive charter school policies.

From JeffCo Public Schools BoardDocs site: Next special Board Meeting scheduled for August 23rd

Our Comment on the above:  At this point, the exact time, location, and agenda has not been posted.  When we get that information we will relay to you immediately.  In the meantime, pencil it in on your calendars.

One interesting note, this page now announces and displays the streaming video link for Board meetings held in the JeffCo Board room.  It did not used to do that.  However, with the last few meetings, viewership via the live video stream has soared.  It may also be that WNW is hoping more people will stay home and watch in silence, rather than being visual and audio reminders that the vast majority of people who show up are fiercely opposed to them.

Please let us know if you come across any interesting education articles that have either a direct or indirect effect on JeffCo.  Staying alert and informed is essential as we….

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

Wednesday News: 6/25 JeffCo Round-Up

JeffCo School NewsWe start off this BoE summer hiatus with what we hope will be a regular round-up of Education news involving JeffCo.  We will try to bring to your attention news stories and events over the previous week that impact JeffCo, and if possible, provide some background and context to help you understand the significance of the story.

Several years ago, this would have been pretty easy.  A quick search of the local newspapers, TV stations, and a few specialized periodicals would have given us a fairly unbiased synopsis of the education news that week.

Oh, how times have changed!

With the decline of readership and viewership, traditional media sources have severely cut back their education coverage, and what coverage there is seems to be long on oversimplification and short on in-depth explanation.  Complicating this is the trend toward ‘independent’ sources that are more mouthpieces for various political organizations, each pushing a very biased ‘unbiased’ viewpoint.  There are some truly non-partisan sources out there, but the partisan ones are pretty good at camouflaging themselves to fool quick, cursory looks.  So we will do our best to let you know what viewpoint a news source might have.  We will also let you know if we find any source to be particularly biased, misleading, or has questionable sanity.

With that, here are the things in the news over the last week that we found worth reading:

Jeffco board OKs general fund on split vote – from co.chalkbeat.org

(Note: Chalkbeat is a nationwide education media organization, focused on education reporting.  Each state has it’s own reporting staff.  While accused by extremists of pro teacher-bias, the truth is that it publishes stories and editorials from both sides.  Reading it will tend to get you angry and pleased with it all in one sitting.  It is not so much non-partisan as it is bi-partisan.  The reporting on specific events tends to be the most in-depth you will find, picking up things that other media sources miss or discount.)

Our comment on the above article:  Chalkbeat is the only reporting source we have found that gave Lori Gillis’s warnings about the future of the Reserve Fund and Capital Infrastructure the attention it deserved.  Most of the other reports focused on either the charter school $1.85 million increase increase (increasing the $3.7 million increase to $5.6 million) or the failure to approve $600,000 to expand free, full-day kindergarten.  Chalkbeat got to the most critical part right up front – WNW’s spendthrift ways are jeopardizing the financial stability of the District.

Independence Institute leader pushing Amendment to force open teacher negotations. – from the Colorado Statesman

(Note:  The Colorado Statesman has been around since 1898.  On the whole, it seems fairly unbiased.  The reporting is straight forward, although not all of the implications of a story will necessarily be explored.  It is still far more in-depth on issues that the Denver Post and Denver TV stations would find too obscure.)

Our comment on the above article:  The fact that the Independence Institute, who supports WNW, is behind this automatically makes us want to examine the everything in detail.  What seems to be happening here is that Jon Caldera is trying to capitalize on the outrage over DougCo’s excessive use of Executive Sessions.  But instead of banning them for how DougCo uses them, to ban them instead only for employee association negotiations.  In effect, the I.I. is trying to use the DougCo board behavior as camouflage for a completely separate issue.  DougCo does not have Executive Sessions on teacher negotiations…because since they refused to come to an agreement with the teachers three years ago, they do not have any negotiations with them! The concerns over the DougCo Executive Sessions are not about teacher salaries and working conditions, but rather other actions the Board wants to keep hidden.

As it stands now, the contract between JCEA and the District allows for open negotiations if both sides ask for it.  Which is what happened this year, although with the blow-back from Witt’s rejection of the proposed contract (before the full Board had even a chance to look at it), may make WNW wish they had not pushed for it.

Bottom line, rather than presenting this honestly, Caldera and I.I. seem to be trying to do a bait and switch with Colorado voters by continuing to confuse and obfuscate their real objectives.

Thompson school board retains superintendent – from Channel 9 News

(Note: Channel 9 News has been reporting on JeffCo off and on all year.  For the most part, the reporting is incomplete in many cases, although that may be caused by the deadline of a 10 p.m. news show, and WNW’s penchant for pushing the nastiest surprises to the end of the meetings.  We are concerned that Channel 9 seems to frame every controversy involving WNW as a “union issue”.  Channel 9 seems to consistently ignore the fact that the opposition to WNW is wide-spread, and even spearheaded by parents and community members.  In short, they have a tendency to repeat the WNW spin on any event.)

Our comment on the above article:   This story is important for at least three reasons.  First of all, Thompson and JeffCo are linked in a number of ways.  Both had ‘reform’ majorities elected in low-turnout elections.  Both have had vociferous public responses, albeit the Thompson community reacted faster than JeffCo, flooding the Board meeting rooms with people as early as December.  That response was in reaction to the second link:  Brad Miller.  The Thompson Board President was trying to hire Brad Miller the day before Witt brought it up in JeffCo.  Famously, the Thompson Board President announced that Miller was already the Board attorney for JeffCo….24 hours before the JeffCo meeting which brought him up for the first time!

In our opinion, Brad Miller is a lot more than someone who ‘organizes the Boards legal documents’.  The mere fact that WNW refuse to allow a full discussion of him is enough to generate suspicion.  The Miller connection deserves a LOT more investigation.  The third link is effort by the ‘reform’ President to get rid of their current Superintendent, Dr. Stan Scheer.  This was apparently barely averted, after a public outcry and pressure was brought to bear.  It seems that the Thompson Valley Board actually will listen, on occasion, to their community, unlike WNW.  We should keep an eye on them, and them on us for clues as to what may happen next.

BJC opposes Colorado voucher planfrom ABP-Religious Herald News

(Note:  This is the first time we have come across a relevant article on ABP, formerly the Associated Baptist Press, so we have no inkling of their leanings one way or another.  One thing in their favor is that we did not find mention of this legal filing anywhere else!)

Our comment on the above article:  The U.S. Constitution specifically states in the First Amendment that Congress shall “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  The Colorado Constitution states in Article 9, Section 7 that “Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation, or pay from any public fund or moneys whatever…to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian denomination whatsoever.

Seems pretty straight-forward.  No public money for religious schools.  Of course, McMinimee and the DougCo Board thought otherwise and cooked up a scheme that sure looks and smells like money-laundering.  A parent enrolls their child in a ‘virtual charter school’.  ‘Virtual’ because it does not exist except as this weird chartered organization set up by DougCo.  DougCo then transfers to the school a percentage of the money the District receives from the State for that FTE pupil.  The parents let the ‘charter’ school know where they want their child to actually go to school, i.e., a religious school.  The ‘charter’ school then cuts a check in the name of the parents to that school for the amount of the funds the District assigned to it.  And according to McMinimee, ala kazam presto-chango!  The public money  sent to private religious institutions is not really ‘public’ because the District’s name is not on the check!

Believe it or not, this is now before the State Supreme Court.  A District court ruled a violation of the Colorado Constitution.  The Appellate Court ruled it was okay.  The Supreme Court should hand down a decision by the end of the summer.

This article is evidence that not all religious organizations see McMinimee’s brainchild as a good thing.  As a country and a state, we deliberately separated religion from public funding for very good reasons.  All you have to do is look around the world.  The vast majority of armed conflicts going on right now are religious in nature.  Almost every Western European country has had a religious civil war at one point or another in its history.  We have not.  The ‘separation of church and state’ is one big reason.

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That’s it for this week.  If you come across an article you think we should know about, please email it’s URL (link) along with your reasons to us at JeffCoWatch@gmail.com.

Staying aware and informed is one important way we can…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

Saturday Post – 6/19 BOE Meeting Agenda Review

Budget3D

JeffCo 2014/15 Budget Approval

Thursday night, June 19th,  is the last currently scheduled Board meeting for this school year.  This is the meeting where the final approval of the Budget is to be made, as well as several other items that need approval before the end of the June.  This is a Special Meeting, not a Regular Meeting, so this Board should be following their own guidelines, specifically that of GP-17 and it’s implementation in District policy BEDH and schedule public comment for any item on the agenda.  Instead, they have continued to restrict public comment and allotted only 45 minutes for one item – the budget (sign up to speak here and download budget presentation here).  Apparently while WNW is willing to ignore the Board and District’s own policies, apparently the thought of violating state law is still a bit more forbidding.

Below is the Agenda as published late Friday, June 13th.  With WNW, items somehow magically appear and disappear all the way up to the actual meeting, so be aware of possible changes.

One thing that does seem to be missing:  any agenda item announcing that McMinimee has accepted and signed WNWs contract….

BOE Meeting 2014-06-19
Date and Time:
 Thursday, June 19, 2014, at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Education Center 5th Floor Board Room,1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden

Key Agenda Items

Public Agenda Item: 2.01 Final Public Hearing and Adoption, Appropriation of the 2014/2015 Budget (EL-5, EL-6)
Type:
 Action
Recommended Action: to conduct the final public hearing on the 2014/2015 Budget; to adopt the resolutions for adoption and appropriation of the 2014/2015 budget, use of fund balance, interfund borrowing; and, to discharge statutory obligations to adopt salary schedules for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014, and ending June 30, 2015.
Goals: EL-6, Financial Administration, EL-5, Financial Planning/Budgeting
Estimated time: 5:35 p.m. (estimated duration:  30 minute presentation, 45 minute public hearing, 30 minute Board discussion)
PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. In accordance with Board executive limitation policyEL-5, Financial Planning/Budgeting, “Financial planning for any fiscal year shall not deviate materially from the Board’s Ends policies, risk fiscal jeopardy or fail to be derived from a multi-year plan.”
  2. On May 29, 2014, the proposed budget for the July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, fiscal year was submitted to the Board of Education for study in compliance with C.R.S. 22-44.108.
  3. The 2014/2015 proposed budget was publicly presented (first Public Hearing) at the regular Board of Education meeting on June 5, 2014.
  4. The district complied with C.R.S. 22-44-109 by providing legal notice of the proposed budget to the citizens of Jefferson County.
  5. Lorie Gillis, chief financial officer, will present an overview of the 2014/2015 Proposed Budget.
  6. At this time, the Board listens to concerns on the 2014/2015 Budget only for up to 45 minutes. Sign up online here to speak to the Board of Education.  Board members or staff will respond during this meeting or at a later time.  We listen with respect and ask those who address the Board to do the same. In order to respect all persons addressing the Board, we request that the audience not applaud individual speakers and that issues, rather than personalities, be addressed. Any resident or staff member of the district who has completed the requested information on the public comment roster may speak. There is a three minute time limit per person.

    If there are a number of speakers commenting on the same topic this evening, we ask that remarks be consolidated and ndw thoughts or concepts shared. It is not the number of people who address the Board that leads to better decision-making, rather the content of your presentation. So, we respectfully ask that you do not repeat the same message of an earlier speaker. If there are four or more people who wish to address the Board on the same side of the same topic, each person must sign up online and then the Board will allow 10 minutes for that group’s view to be heard. All those who sign up must accompany the speaker to the front of the Board room. We respectfully ask that uyou do not repeat the same message, but rather present varying concepts on the same theme.
    If more than 25 people sign up to speak to the Board under public comment, we will limit individual speakers to two minutes and groups to five minutes so that the Board can hear from as many citizens as possible.

  7. Final Board discussion/direction of the 2014/2015 Proposed Budget will follow the public hearing comments.
  8. Public hearings on the proposed budget were held at the regular Board of Education meetings of June 5 and June 19, 2014, to provide an opportunity for citizens to address the Board regarding the proposed budget.
  9. Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 22-44-105, school districts must pass a resolution specifically authorizing the use of a portion of the beginning fund balance in the district’s budget.
  10. Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 22-44-113 requires Board of Education approval for interfund borrowing in advance of borrowing.
  11. Colorado state statutes allow for changes to the budget to be made at any time prior to January 31, 2015.

Please open the attachments below to review additional background information.       Financial Reports for Board Docs.pdf (373 KB)
Budget Adoption and Approp 14-15 Resolution.pdf (89 KB)
Authorizing Use of Fund Bal 14-15 Resolution.pdf (79 KB)
Interfund Borrowing 14-15 Resolution.pdf (8 KB)
Resolution – Compensation.pdf (89 KB)
June 19 2014 Public Hearing Presentation.pdf (1,009 KB)

Our comments: Wow.  The second most important thing (next to hiring McMinimee) the Board will do all year, and one that has a lot of controversy in it, and WNW plans on restricting public comment to just 45 minutes!  Has anyone noticed that the more people want to give the Board their input, the less input the WNW wants to hear?  This seems to fly in the face of Board Policy GP-17, specifically the point where it says community engagement “Increases opportunities, both formal and informal, for meaningful dialogue and interaction between board members and the community”.  WNW seems to prefer to reduce those opportunities by any means available, such as limiting comment to 45 minutes, and if a lot of people want to comment, reducing how much comment they can give!

What are the items that are controversial?  How about refusing to fund free, full-day kindergarten to schools with 35% or more children on subsidized or free lunch?  It would only cost $600,000.  How about moving $3.7 million to charter schools with no explanations of how the money will be spent, no promises of improving student scores, and no accountability back to the District for the additional funds?  Maybe the $280,000 salary for a first time Superintendent is a tad controversial?  

Please go through the financial reports.  What puzzles you?  What do you want to know more about?  This is your school district spending your tax dollars.  You have a right to be heard, and an obligation to exercise that right!

Ends Discussion Item: 3.01 Choice Steering Committee Final Recomendations (GP-13, EL-11)
Type:
Discussion, Information
Goals: EL-11, Communication and Counsel to the Board
Estimated time: 7:20 p.m. (estimated duration: 30 minutes)
PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. At the January 16, 2014, Board of Education meeting, Jeffco’s Enrollment Planning and Services Consultant Shannon Fitzgerald provided an overview of the Choice Steering Committee purpose, membership and summary of work.
  2. By unanimous vote of the Board, the Choice Steering Committee was added to Board governance process policy GP-13, Committee Structure, as a Board committee to include an organizational charter and charge. Additional background information is available on the Choice Steering Committee web page.       
  3. An update on the work of the committee was provided at the March 6, 2014, Board of Education meeting. Initial recommendations were covered at the April 3, 2014, Board of Education meeting.
  4. The purpose of this presentation is to provide the Board, as directed, with final recommendations based on the committee’s work.
  5. Although nothing was brought forth to the Choice Steering Committee for discussion at either of the agreed-upon-meeting times allocated to discuss Minority Reports, a small group of committee members did circulate a Minority Report 11 days after the Choice Steering Committee’s final meeting; that report is attached. Please note that committee members have not had the opportunity to discuss this report or the ideas therein.

Please open the attachments below to review additional background information.
Presentation Final CSC Recommendations to the BOE 06 19 14.pdf (727 KB)
Choice Minority Report 06 07 2014 DRAFT v3 3.pdf (543 KB)

Our comments: The full CSC report has four recommendations:  1) a unified online choice enrollment process with a District-written lottery tool for each school to use. 2) get District processes to support ‘innovation’ more. 3) the District should try to improve transportation to all schools without increasing transportation costs. 4) the District should consistently enforce District Policy JFBA on District Choice Enrollment.  At the end, the report notes that despite there being two opportunities for those who disagreed with the report to voice their objections, none were made.  But then the draft of the attached ‘minority’ (5 of 26) report was sent in.  This report first complains that recommendation #1 could lead to “a centralized lottery system that generates take-it-or-leave-it offers for school assignments” although they do not explain what they mean by ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ and why that would be bad.  They are also unsure #2 really means anything (we tend to agree), and think #3 & #4 may be okay, but this is not what the Board asked for.  The minority report then goes on a long rip on the majority, using ‘data’ and ‘data-driven’ several times.  Finally, this minority say they want the Board to ignore the majority report and order a new ‘standing Choice Committee’ (headed up presumably by this minority) to do a new report.  

Our opinion?  If this ‘minority’ report recommendation is followed up by WNW, the effect could be to put five very partisan people in very non-transparent charge of the District’s Choice Policy.

4. Consent Agenda

4.01 Board Approval of Instructional Resources Recommended for Use in Jefferson County (EL-11)CAES Instructional Resources.pdf (129 KB),  List of Jeffco Textbooks for Review.pdf (55 KB), Responses to Ken Witt Questions.pdf (48 KB), Responses to Ken Witt Questions.pdf (48 KB) (the ‘Ken Witt’ document appears to have been added twice on BoardDocs by accident – jcsbw)

4.02 Resolution: Supplemental Appropriation FY 2013/2014 (EL-5)Supplemental Approp 13-14 Memo.pdf (68 KB), Supplemental Approp 13-14 Detail.pdf (7 KB), Supplemental Approp 13-14 Resolution.pdf (6 KB)

4.03 Resolution: Authorizing Use of FY 2013/2014 Fund Balance (EL-5) Authorizing Use of Fund Bal 13-14 Resolution.pdf (91 KB)

4.04 Resolution: Amending the 2014/2015 Proposed Budget (EL-5)Amending the Proposed Budget 14-15 Resolution.pdf (12 KB)

Our comments: 4.01 should have been approved earlier except Witt had questions about how the textbook approval process was run.  The District’s answer is one of the downloadable attachments.  Two copies of this attachment are on the BoardDocs site, and we presume is a simple error.  4.02 adjusts authorized fund allocations to the existing 2013/14 budget to reflect actual Board and District spending decisions.  4.03 is a Board resolution authorizing use of the Fund Balance to cover Board required expenditures and that the Board does not think doing so will cause a deficit in those Funds.  4.04 is another Board resolution allowing for the necessary budget changes required by the signing of the agreement with the CSEA, JCAA, and JCAP to the tune of $2.5 million.

Discussion Agenda Item: 5.01 Third Quarter Financial Report (EL-5, EL-6)
Type:
Discussion, Information
Goals: EL-6, Financial Administration, EL-5, Financial Planning/Budgeting
Estimated time:  7:50 p.m. (estimated duration: 40 minutes)
PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. Each quarter, the Board of Education monitors the district-wide condition in compliance with and as outlined in Board executive limitation policiesEL-5, Financial Planning and Budgeting andEL-6, Financial Administration.
  2. Staff including Lorie Gillis, chief financial officer, Kathleen Askelson, executive director of Finance, and the independent auditor from CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP, will identify funds, departments and/or schools to monitor closely throughout the year.
  3. Members of the Financial Oversight Committee will also be present to address the Board of Education.

Please open the attachments below to review the transmittal letter, second quarter financial report, and Report on Agreed-Upon-Procedures which covers the period January 1 through March 31, 2014.

Mar 2014 Transmittal 031414.pdf (264 KB)
3rd QUARTER REPORT 031414.pdf (5,072 KB)
3rd Qtr 2014 Report on Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures – CLA.pdf (43 KB)
2014 06 19 Third Qtr Financial Rept 2013-2014 Presentation.pdf (415 KB)

Our comments: If nothing else, you should download and read Lori Gillis’ cover letter, the powerpoint presentation to the Board, and the audit firm’s four page report that summarize where the District stands as of the end of March this year.  As you do so, keep in mind that the soundness of the District’s finances are strictly the result of the previous Board and Superintendent.  WNW had little opportunity to impact spending in a major way the first part of the year.  One of the ways they could and did impact the District’s finances can be found in the fact that both Collegiate Academy and Mountain Phoenix charter schools borrowed just over $188,000 within a 45 days of being approved for credit lines equal to $650,000.  That is about 29% of their total authorized amounts for the next four to five years.  

There are a total of five yellow flags found by the audit firm and the District.  The first has to do with the fact that fewer meals are being served in the schools, so both the revenue and cost of the meal programs has shrunk.  The other four yellow flags all deal with charter schools, specifically Two Roads High School, Rocky Mountain Deaf School, Collegiate Academy, and Mountain Phoenix.  All four are yellow flagged and have open lines of credit (loans) from the District.  Additionally, both Two Roads and Collegiate Academy are experienced a loss of enrollment for the 2013/14 school year.

Final Comments:  WNW will most likely play ‘hardball’ again and severely restrict the ability of the public to comment, contrary to Board and District policies.  Budgets are never fun, but it is probably the most important thing any Board does.  “Follow the money” and you will learn what the real motives, intentions, and plans are for any person or group.  The dollar shifting WNW has managed to do in just eight months is pointing us down the path to DougCo.  Right now, we need to make sure that the two things are very clear:  First, this is NOT what WNW were elected to do.  Second, that we, the people of JeffCo, will NOT take this lying down.  So sign up, study up, and show up next Thursday and show WNW+Miller that we will…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

New Super McMinimee Town Halls: 5/15 & 5/19

town-hall-mdJill Fellman is hosting two town hall meetings for Daniel McMinimee, the finalist for JeffCo Superintendent.  McMinimee is currently the DougCo Assistant Superintendent.

The first town hall will be tomorrow afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Wheat Ridge High School.  The second will at Carmody Middle School on Monday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The JeffCo online parent publication, Chalk Talk, sent out an email on this yesterday, May 13th (click here to see original).  The invitation is for parents to come by to chat and ask questions.  Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  1. Do you agree with the WNW’s decision and rationale for refusing to fund 13 new sections of free, full-day kindergarten at five schools which have 35% or more students on free or reduced lunches?  What do you think of their rationale that nationwide studies showing the efficacy of full day kindergarten do not apply to JeffCo?
  2. Do you intend to support any effort to redirect public, tax-payer funds in order to provide vouchers to private schools, including private religious schools?
  3. Do you support Pay for Performance inspite of several recent studies, including one done by the JeffCo District that show little or no correlation between PfP and improved test scores?
  4. In your opinion, what would be the ratio between regular public schools and charter schools?
  5. Including time spent teaching in the classroom, in preparation, in grading, and in supporting students extra-curricular activities, how many hours a week should the average elementary school teacher work?  Middle school?  High School?
  6. JeffCo is a much more ethnically and culturally diverse district than DougCo.  Are you comfortable with that diversity?  Do you agree with Mr. Witt that diversity awareness has no place in a school district?  How do you plan on addressing the diversity of JeffCo?
  7. What mistakes have been made in DougCo?  Specifically, what would do differently?

Show up!  WNW has settled on McMinimee.  We need to make sure he realizes that WNW is NOT representative of the desires of the majority of JeffCo parents, educators, and community!