4-3 Board General Meeting Summary: Public Comment

As the meeting started and the board discussed the agenda, Jill Fellman asked to add to the agenda a discussion of Attorney Brad Miller’s contract, saying that as it has been six months and this is a month-to-month contract, and they have never had an official review of his contract or scope of work, etc. this would be a good time to do this.

Newkirk asked if they would also be reviewing all attorney’s, including Kaplan and Earnst.

Fellman said she wasn’t aware they had more than one attorney just for the board.

As she met with resistance, Fellman, said she would bring it up at the end of the meeting when the board worked on its future calendar.

The board moved on to honors, recognizing around 33 district volunteers, schools that won the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award, and schools for academic achievement.  The district has a list of winners here.

**EdNote** The board room was standing room only, the overflow room at the Education Center was overflowing and people were standing in the lobby outside the boardroom hoping to get a seat.  Probably more than 400 people.  Perhaps, for the time being, while attendance is so high it would be wise for the board to hold all their meetings at a centrally located high school’s auditorium, like Lakewood High School. **EdNote**

The board heard a brief presentation from Jefferson County Student Council, made up of student presidents from high schools across Jefferson County.  They talked about holding the Senior (Citizen) Prom and about their preparations for Day Without Hate, now a national movement started in Jeffco.

Then began what should have been 45 minutes of public comment but Witt let it go on for more than 2 hours.

**EdNote** In January, when a large group of parents came to speak before the board about the STEM program at Deer Creek Middle School, Witt lumped them all together in one group and would only let them speak if they had something new to add to what had already been said.

Last night, however, Witt allowed one person and group after another, most of them from the same school, to speak on Mill Levy Override charter equalization.  They, quite literally, said the same things over and over and over and over for more than 2 hours and Witt never once tried to lump them together or asked if a speaker had something new to add.  **EdNote**

**EdNote**  I tried to get names of speakers but wasn’t always able to and, to be honest, I started tuning out the pro charter people after a while due to the monotony of hearing the same things over and over…   I also apologize for name misspellings. **EdNote**

PARENT: Pro charter equalization, no prepared statement, winged it, was hard to follow.

PARENT, Tammy Story:  Against charter equalization.  Said charters are different, have less accountability, more flexibility, they are a small part of our student population and that the budget survey and forums did not support giving more money to charters. Ms. Story went over her allotted 3 minutes and tried to hurry and finish her statement.

**EdNote** With previous boards, speakers often went over 3 minutes and board presidents would generally, politely, ask speakers to finish up what they have to say quickly – unless someone was off on a crazy rant. Previous boards have always respected a taxpayer’s and parent’s right to speak, even when they went over time.

Up until last night, we have seen Witt often let people go over their allotted time, once by more than 5 minutes, but apparently, because Ms. Story was speaking against something Witt is in favor of, he felt it acceptable to silence her voice.  **EdNote**

Instead of asking her politely to quickly finish her statement, Witt rudely told Ms. Story to stop. When she didn’t and tried to continue speaking, he spoke over her again and again then asked security to remove her from the meeting.

Ms. Story continued to finish her statement as security escorted her from the podium. She made some very poignant comments and said some things similar to what we have said on this blog.

PARENT GROUP:  Derek Schuler and others, pro charter equalization, stated there is a great deal of misinformation out there about charters and there should be equality for all students.  A representative of the Colorado League of Charter Schools tried to lay out facts about charters, claimed they get less funding all the way around (not just MLO dollars), said a charter’s flexibility makes them unique and important, and that contrary to rumors, most charter teachers are certified. “Equity is not about what’s popular, it’s about what’s right.”

PARENTS, Carleen Clark, Karlynn Cory:  Pro charter equalization, repeated what Derek Schuler said.

PARENT, Tina Gurdikian: Spoke against charter equalization and said “we must be careful about fund equity. Charters get grants, their teachers don’t have to be licensed, they can get waivers from curriculum, etc., they can deny students enrollment… charters get loans when they ask for them.”  She added that equalization would be a violation of the voter’s will.

PARENT, Sunny Flynn: Loves her neighborhood school but supports equalization.  Added she believes too much technology is bad for kids and “hurts young minds.”

PARENT, Andrea Stevens: Asked the board to honor the voter’s will not just where 3A is concerned but where the failure of Amendment 66 (which would have provided additional funding for charters) is concerned.

**EdNote** At this point I looked at the Twitter feed for #jeffcoschoolbd and saw this tweet:  Charters r not the same, if they were they wdnt have diff names.  **EdNotes**

PARENT GROUP: One wants a Pre-K STEM school.  All support equalization.  They talked about how parents work to maintain the building, fundraise, etc.

**EdNote**  We heard a lot of impassioned pleas from parents and teachers of charters about having to do school maintenance, about teachers having to spend their own money on the classroom, and about the thousands upon thousands of dollars they must fundraise to meet kid’s needs.  

As a parent who has been active in my children’s neighborhood schools for many years, it honestly struck me as whining. My neighborhood schools, too, have parent volunteers help with what painting or maintenance they can.  Our teachers also spend money out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms, and I don’t know a single neighborhood school that doesn’t work to fundraise the thousands needed to supplement what the state has cut over the last several years.

It bothered me a great deal to see these people painting themselves and their children as somehow being victims and having to deal with things the rest of us don’t.  

One charter parent bemoaned how terrible the technology in their school is and I thought, ‘Join the club!  My son’s neighborhood school is desperately in need of updated technology but we don’t have the ability to ask the school board to give us more money!”  **EdNote**

PARENT, Amanda Stevens:   Spoke about the board’s dismissal of the budget survey results even after an internal audit showed them to be valid (more than 13,000 filled out the survey and there were over 4,000 comments.)  She implored the board to engender trust and talked about the need to utilize accountability committees.

TEACHER LIBRARIAN GROUP, Christy Yacano speaking:  Asked why the board took input from parents and the community for the budget but only the board’s priorities made it to the preliminary budget. “And you wonder why this board has lost trust?”  She also stated the group is disturbed by the board’s dismissal of teacher librarians in employee negotiations and talked about the many things teacher librarian’s contribute to our schools in today’s education climate.

PARENT GROUP:  Pro charter equalization

PARENTS, Brian Mead, Patrick Howard: Pro charter equalization, charters must raise tens of thousands of dollars.

**EdNote** At that point I saw a tweet from a parent who listed the thousands of dollars of fundraising she has done at her neighborhood school.  **EdNote**

TEACHER, Don Cameron, Lakewood High School:  **EdNote**  I asked Mr. Cameron for his full comments, they are provided here for you.  **EdNote**

I am a science teacher at Lakewood High School.  As such I am very data driven.  Tonight I want to ask you how you took thousands of pieces of input from parents, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders, on skills that a new superintendent should have, and narrowed it down to the 12 skills that the school board voted on themselves.  I have made a graphic showing the recommended characteristics as summarized by Ray and Associates. Of the top 12 recommended attributes, from the combined rankings of all those people, only 5 ended up in the recommendations at the end.  This is shown by the 5 green lines in the combined ranking column.  The other 7 recommendations fall below the combined rankings of 15, or almost the bottom half of the survey.  And one recommendation, that the candidate be a “hybrid candidate” is from the bottom of the combined ranking.  In other words, despite literally over a thousand survey results, 7 of the recommended items to the board do NOT fall in the top 12, but instead fall in the bottom half.  dc chart1

If you wonder why this board has lost the trust of the public, here is an example.  You said you were going to have an open process and get input from all stakeholders.  Yet, the final recommendations are not backed up by data.  To add insult to injury, ALL the recommended items, including those at the bottom of the combined survey fall in the board members’ top 12.  This can be seen by the board ranking column, where tied rankings were grouped together.  As is typical of this divided board, however, most of these had split votes, with three or four votes carrying the day as can be seen in the all green column.  It’s very clear, that despite your avowed interest in an open and fair process, the data were manipulated to a predetermined outcome, with recommendations directly from the board driving the process, and the votes of three members carrying the day.  Can you explain how this happened? In summary, on this topic, to truly show that you are open to stakeholder input, you should accept the top recommendations from the combined survey results.

Another place in which it is clear you are not listening to public input is with regard to budget priorities and charters.  The numerical data of the budget survey were clear, charters were at the bottom of the priority list.  Since the last meeting, I read literally hundreds of the survey comments about the budget too.  I completed a random sampling of the over 2000 comments provided for the survey.  22% of the comments were explicitly against additional funding to charters.  14% of the comments were specifically in support of teachers in Jeffco.  63% of the comments were about other funding priorities besides charters to include arts, sports etcetera.  Just 1% of the comments were in support of the board’s priorities.  When you discuss budget priorities tonight I cannot emphasize enough that moving 3A funds to charter schools would be in direct violation of the will of the majority of the voters, who passed the measure.

So, what actions are you going to take to get the public behind you?  Tonight you have a chance to show you’re listening.  

PARENT, Vicki Milton:  Pro charter equalization

TEACHER, Angela Mays:  Pro charter equalization, read letters from children telling the board what they would do with an additional $1,000 per student.

PARENT GROUP: Pro charter equalization

**EdNote** At this point, a parent sitting nearby whispered that at her neighborhood school, the art teacher has kids wash and air dry their hands because she has a very limited supply of paper towels and can’t afford to supply enough for kids to use all the time.

PARENT: Pro charter equalization

JCEA GROUP, Stephi Rossi speaking:  **EdNote** Because Ken Witt stated in November that they would not be Douglas County andhad no interest in destroying the teacher’s union, and because the school board is now doing EXACTLY what the Douglas Count board did to their teachers, I asked Ms. Rossi for her full comments and I have provided them for you below. **EdNote**

The JCEA Bargaining team has several concerns about the future of interest based bargaining in Jeffco.

JCEA and Jeffco Public Schools have used an interest based bargaining process for several years. The process begins with identification of issues, and then proceeds with identifying each party’s interests related to the issues at hand. Frequently, a number of interests are shared by both parties. The combined teams then brainstorm options that would meet as many interests as possible. If an option meets all or most interests, it is agreed to. It is designed to be a win-win solution. Both teams specifically chose this bargaining process because it promotes collaboration and allows the teams to focus on real issues that impact the classroom and our students.

In the history of JCEA-Jeffco bargaining, we have never failed to reach an agreement on an option when it satisfied both parties’ interests. The issue JCEA brought forward was to extend the negotiated agreement past August of 2015.  One of our primary interests was to help the Board in its publicly stated desire to counteract rumors that it was heading down a Douglas County path and would try to end the negotiated agreement. For the past 45 years, our negotiated agreement has supported and promoted quality teaching in our district. Teachers will be better able to focus their energies on students when the rumors are put to rest, and are not worried about the status of their contract.

Both parties generated a list of options on the extension of the contract issue, but the Board’s team rejected them all without an attempt to find a consensus position. The Board’s team stated that the Board did not want to extend the contract because they want to negotiate the full contract next year. We agreed that we would open the entire contract next year. The Board’s team stated they want “robust discussions” in next year’s bargaining session. We agreed that we need and want “robust discussions” next year. The Board’s team stated we want a District that is an attractive place to work. We agreed and believe that a contract extension would make Jeffco even more attractive, and furthermore, shut down the rumor mill. The Board’s team also wanted employees who are confident in the district and its future. JCEA’s team and membership couldn’t agree more. A negotiated agreement with a secure future will certainly help create confident employees.

Options were generated that met all of the interests. Unless there were board interests that were not stated at the bargaining table, it is difficult to understand how the board came to the conclusion that none of the options were viable. We ask that you fully honor the interest based bargaining process that you voluntarily entered into with JCEA this year.

**EdNote**  In Douglas County, this is pretty much how things played out when their “reform” candidates were elected. They said up front they had no interest in destroying the union then essentially refused to bargain with the teachers at all and let the teacher’s contract lapse.  In only the last couple of years, Douglas County has had a turnover rate of 1/3 of their teachers – 1,000 of 3200.  Teacher morale in Dougco is extremely low, teachers there are very unhappy and afraid to speak up for fear of losing their job. In addition, several teachers there have taken jobs as PERA Professionals in other districts where they couldn’t find teaching jobs, at a significant paycut, just to get out of Douglas County.  

Because our new board majority is walking the very same path, we can likely expect the same result.  Is a climate of fear and distrust healthy for our children and their education?  Did you know Douglas County’s achievement scores have dropped since their “reform” board took over?

In Dougco they also claimed union dues are taxpayer dollars going directly to support a political organization rather than what they really are, a teacher choosing of their own free will to give a portion of their paycheck to their teacher’s association. Laura Boggs was known to say teachers are not taxpayers because they are paid with taxpayer dollars.  You can probably expect to hear similar rhetoric from this board at some future point. **EdNote**

PARENT GROUP: Spoke on the importance of performing arts in our schools, the qualities and skills they inspire in kids, and the need to keep them in our schools. They also said the board should honor the voters will the mill levy, 3A.

PARENT: Pro charter equalization, from Excel Academy.

**EdNote**  At one point in time, perhaps even now, Excel Academy actively solicited the families of the highest CSAP/TCAP scoring students at surrounding neighborhood schools.  They would send letters telling the families what a great learning environment Excel would be for their children.  To my knowledge, no family of Special Needs or At Risk children were never solicited.  **EdNote**

The Excel parent also complained about not being able to offer more foreign language classes at their school.

**EdNote**  Most of our middle and high schools have cut the number of foreign languages they teach and very few of our elementary schools teach a foreign language at all. At my children’s middle school, they taught Spanish and French but had to cut French due to lack of funding.  At the high school, a friend of my son’s was taking Mandarin but that class was cut.  Our high school only teachers Spanish and French, not even German.  They can’t afford to and the foreign language requirements for graduation were cut a while back due to the state funding cuts. **EdNote**

(Over 2 hours into public comment at this point)

TEACHER, Mountain Phoenix: Pro Charter equalization. Complained about how teachers have to sacrifice to supply their classrooms.

**EdNote** There were several speaksers from Mtn Phoenix. If you’ll recall, they just received a $250,000 loan to complete construction on a new building because they were over budget.  **EdNote**

PARENT GROUP: Pro charter equalization

PARENT: Pro charter equalization

PARENT:  Pro charter equalization.

TEACHER, Jim Fernald, Lakewood High School: Has spoken before on why CSAP and TCAP data are worthless. Told a story about how he was excited about the tests when they first came out then when he saw them for the first time realized the test was actually designed to set kids up to fail.  Said people who have never really seen or proctored the test have no idea what’s really happening with testing.

**EdNote** That concludes public comment from last night.  Remember, individuals had 3 minutes to speak but groups had ten minutes.  The board is supposed to hear 45 minutes and anything over that is pushed to the end of the meeting.  Instead, we sat through more than 2 solid hours.  The business portion of the meeting did not start until nearly 10:00 pm.  **EdNote**

12 thoughts on “4-3 Board General Meeting Summary: Public Comment

  1. District Policy BEDH provides that the board president MUST put large numbers of people speaking on a single topic into one group, and they will select speakers and have 10 minutes to comment. By failing to do that last night, Ken Witt has again violated district policy. The citizens must hold him accountable.

    District Policy BEDH, which provides for Public Participation at Board Meetings, also says: “At regular meetings, citizens can address the Board on any topic related to the operation of the schools. ONLY THOSE TOPICS WHICH ARE ON THAT PARTICULAR AGENDA MAY BE ADDRESSED AT SPECIAL MEETINGS.”

    This says to me that public comment is supposed to be permitted at special meetings, which are all meetings of the Board that are not regular meetings or executive sessions.

    • The board has study sessions, special meetings, and regular meetings. I know there’s no comment at study sessions and they are not supposed to vote or take any action at those. Special meetings are study sessions where they can take action on issues… interesting on the public comment piece for those. I’ll have to look more closely at that! Thanks for bringing it up.

      • That is interesting re: study sessions. I do not see where that type of meeting is defined. Can you point me to where I’d find them described? I will need to revisit the sunshine law language, but I don’t recall seeing study sessions there, either.

  2. I love the “tuning out” of those in favor of Public Charter equalization of funding. Is that what you want to teach kids? If you don’t like what someone is saying, tune them out? But then again, you aren’t anti-charter. I keep forgetting that, with all the nasty comments that you direct toward public charters and all.

    If you hadn’t tuned them out, you would have heard each group get up and talk about an entirely different point and their experiences with public charters and how their children learn. They did throw in a request for the board to consider equal funding, but that was additional to what they were saying. They were polite, eloquent and followed the rules set forth by the Board. They didn’t try to be rude and denigrate the district run public schools. In point of fact, none of them were against district run public schools. They just want the same treatment as district run public schools with the same funding. This should not be a discussion or situation where it is district run public schools against public charters because they are all public schools.

    This is about the children and it seems that you are trying to make this about one school against another. Do you have a problem with the funding that Arvada West receives vs. what Lakewood High receives? Lakewood is taking money away from Arvada West. What about the funding that Kendrick Lakes receives vs Hackberry Hill? Don’t pit the schools against each other, please. If you are getting all up in arms about something, do it for the kids, not the individual schools. They are all public schools and all the parents at each of the schools just wants what’s best for their kids. You are the ones that are making this an “us against them” situation, not those supporting public charters.

    • Is that really what you got from that? I didn’t tune them out because I disagreed with them, I said I tuned them out because they were saying the same things over and over. I’m glad you heard something different from each of them, I didn’t. You’re right, they were respectful, many were eloquent. I didn’t say otherwise.

      If charters want the same treatment as the rest of our schools then they should follow the same rules. They don’t and they don’t have to. They get funding neighborhood schools don’t so, to me, unless charters are willing to share their grant and bond funds with neighborhood schools, and as long as they can beg the board for $400,000 loans when they have driven their school financially into the ground, they have no business asking for equal MLO funding.

      You are absolutely right, this is about ALL our children, not giving preferential treatment, as this new board has, to the 8% of 85,000 children in charter schools — pulling $7.4 million from neighborhood schools to equalize MLO funding while denying $600,000 to expand full day Kindergarten for poor children. Unbelievable.

      Yeah, this is about ALL kids, not just the kids whose parents can afford to give 40 hours in volunteer hours a year or make a donation if they can’t but the kids whose parents work three jobs and can barely put food on the table and couldn’t possibly volunteer those hours or donate money in place of volunteering. What about THOSE kids?

      I am not anti-charter. I think we have some great charters doing some great things, Compass Montessori being a shining example. But some of them are not doing that well, some of them, like Collegiate, have not so hot student achievement and their parent board was irresponsible in managing finances — that school just got a $400,000 loan and now they get a new windfall from MLO equalization and I guarantee they don’t have many poor children at that school. THAT IS NOT ABOUT ALL CHILDREN. That is about preferential treatment for 8% of students in Jeffco when we have a 34% poverty rate — and all I see this board doing is giving more and more to charters and 8% of our student population while denying the help that 34% of our children desperately need.

  3. I can’t let the irony go unmarked here.
    You marginalize parents and teachers in favor of public charters with precisely the bigotry Witt displayed marginalizing parents and teachers who weren’t.
    The election of this board has brought out the worst. They are indeed awful, but no action they could possibly hope in their wildest dreams to take will ultimately cause the sort of lasting damage to the district that is being done by the zealots on both sides.
    Truth is only the first casualty. Objectivity is close behind.

  4. After sitting through all the pro charter school commentary, they did a great job of convincing me why these schools do the not need equal funding. I was somewhat sympathetic to their case until they made their points. Now I feel just the opposite. I learned that equity is not simply measured in dollars. Equity includes parent involvement, volunteer hours and donations. Equity includes teaching kids with severe disabilities, disruptive behavior (including kids who were expelled from their neighborhood, forced to attend your class with ankle bracelets- court ordered, and sexual perpetrators). It was a real eye opener.

  5. I agree there is too much divisiveness on both the charter and neighborhood school sides. If WNW have accomplished one thing it is sadly, divided the community of parents and teachers. I support both and I think both sides could learn something from each other.

    Charter schools should be sympathetic to the neighborhood schools who must take in every child – learning disabled, poor, from homes that could care less about education. That makes it hard and also requires a lot of resources. The neighborhood schools also build a sense of community and continuity in the neighborhoods. Charter schools should recognize that they do not contribute to the sense of community in the larger community.

    Neighborhood schools should not be so quick to label charters. Charters start on a shoestring and are not given the financial resources. I can understand the frustration around equalization from their perspective. It is hard, hard work to start a charter requiring a commitment of parents time, energy and money. Charters DO take in kids whose parents can not meet the volunteer hours due to life circumstances. Charters DO take in special needs kids and poor kids. Parents who do not care though do not seek out charters, they send kids to the neighborhood schools. The biggest barrier to poor kids attending charters is the lack of transportation.

    Also, most importantly, neighborhood schools have been too wedded to the traditional classroom. The traditional classroom increasingly does not work for many kids. This is the classroom philosophy most teachers know how to implement and the unions support. It’s not about test scores, it’s about learning. I wish neighborhood school supporters could have some empathy for parents whose kids do not do well in the traditional classroom – that is the source of some of the pushback to the unions and Jeffco district who have not been open to supporting different teaching philosophies.

    This blog does need a little more balanced perspective in my opinion but I very much appreciate the people running it! I suggest the owners of the blog talk more with charter families to get a fuller perspective and not be so quick to buy into the stereotypical characterizations. The comments coming from the parents before the board are coming from people who do care about education. (Regardless of how Witt handled it).

    All schools need more money. We should be working for more funding together. But the situation of WNW is going to drain us all just keeping them in check if possible to limit the damage they are doing to our schools and community.

    • We agree with pretty much everything you have said! Including the balanced perspective. In fact, we are working on a joint post with Nicole Dominic, a parent of a child in Mountain Phoenix, covering six questions that both Charter and non-Charter parents have. We hope to have it out fairly soon.

      Our position has never been one of ‘anti-charter’, but rather of ‘anti-poor charter’ and ‘anti-poor District management’ but most of pro


      public schools!

      We see the actions of WNW as an existential threat to public education in general, including, ultimately, charter schools.

    • You are absolutely right and you know, I should have said that I respect every charter parent who spoke Thursday night. Every parent is passionate about their school and I should have been more obviously respectful of that. Because I have seen so much at so many different schools, I know the plights of charters financially is no different than all of our schools. WNW have done a great job of making this a divisive issue and based on what they did in Dougco, this is part of their agenda. Divide and conquer. We must all stay united and we must respect all our schools and the parents who are passionate about them.

      I believe charter schools should be advocating for their funding at the state legislature, not in front of the school board. It’s awful to watch a failed charter like Collegiate Academy get a $400,000 loan and then see WNW deny $600,000 to expand full day Kindergarten for children of poverty. WNW have had a very strong focus on charter schools from day one and have made it clear their agenda is to expand them, whether their applications are good or bad.

      With WNW’s sole focus on charter schools, charter parents, I hope, can sympathize and see why non-charter parents are feeling threatened and disenfranchised right now. We are scared and fear often makes people lash out in anger.

      • I guess the reality is that when charter school parents line up for more monies, followed by proposals to cut teacher pay/comp, full day kindergarten, etc., how is the other side to respond. Charter school parents know full well where this new money has to come from, then complain that people are being divisive. I understand that people get blinded when talking about their kids, but by becoming pawns of the new school board agenda, then complaining about divisiveness just seems hypocritical.

  6. Can you explain what you are talking about with:

    “They get funding neighborhood schools don’t”.

    My understanding is that Public Charters don’t get any additional funding than what a district run public (DRP) school gets. They get the same PPR as DRP schools. They get $ 247 from the mill levies where DRP schools get $ 1400. Facilities are provided by the public Charter, so if they have to get a loan for them, they have to pay out the mortgage for those facilities. There are also a list of fees that have to be paid to the district that amount to 14.5% of the PPR that comes directly out of the PPR and goes back to the district. They don’t get any additional funding anywhere that I can find. The numbers essentially work this way:

    DRP School:
    $ 6800 ppr
    +$ 1400 Mill Levy
    Total: $ 7200 per pupil

    Public Charter:
    $ 6800 ppr
    +$ 247 Mill Levy
    + $ 88 – state capital construction funds
    – $900 – private bond payment for facilities
    – $ 986 – Fees to District (14.5% of ppr) ($ 350 goes to Special Ed fund)
    Total: $ 5249 per pupil

    That is the total funding that I am aware of for public charters. If you know of something that I don’t, I would welcome the chance to find that out. All of the financial documents for public charters are available for anyone to review. They have to be, by law. I found these numbers by going to their websites and looking through their documents. It was a little harder to find the numbers for the district, but that too can be found if you dig hard enough.

    I completely agree with “A Jeffco Mom” that we can’t be divisive here. All of our schools have Jeffco Kids in them and all of them should have equal support. The public charters actually have special needs and IEP students in them above and beyond what they are required to have by law, even more than a lot of DRP schools.

    I, too, support Full day kindergarten. When I moved to CO, it was the first state that I have lived in that didn’t already have free full day kinder. It was a shock to me that Kindergarten is considered, by the state, to be a grade that is not required. If it has to be paid for, then it should be paid for by those that have the means to do so, and not by those that can’t. The entire school in a specific location shouldn’t have all free. Denver Public Schools requires applications for their full day kinder. The ones that meet the requirements for free and reduced lunch don’t pay for the Full day kinder. Those that don’t, have to pay on a sliding scale. If we could implement that, it would alleviate the problem all the way around and provide more options for full-day kindergarten. It would be a win-win situation, I think.

    Volunteering 40+ hours happens in a multitude of different ways. It is not all about taking time off from work to do it. There are many parents at the different public charters that do work from home when they have the time. They don’t have to come into the school. With the economy the way it is, the public charters are not rich schools in rich neighborhoods. The parents are not 1 income families with SAHMs, for the most part. It is a hardship for them that they don’t have the public transport available to take their kids to and from school a lot of the time. The other parents from the school come together to help those that need it get the support they need. They work together. There are also a lot of free and reduced lunch families at these Public charters. They get the support from the school and from the other parents.

    There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there about both sides of the story here. I have been at both a DRP school and a Public Charter and I can see both sides. What I don’t like is the mudslinging and denigration of the public Charter schools because of rumors that were laid to rest 20 years ago being picked up, dusted off, and used as fact. If you have facts that can be proven, then show where you get the facts.

    Something that really irritates me is when the teachers are attacked – DRP and Charter. Both have Certified teachers that are working their tails off to educate these kids. Both have taken pay cuts and had no raises. Both have to keep their certifications up to be able to do this. But here’s a really interesting fact: A teacher that has been teaching at a Public Charter for, let’s say 15 years, then decides to move and work at a DRP school has to start off on the pay scale like they had no experience at all. That’s not right.

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