3A & 3B – Why They Matter, What’s At Stake

Ballots will be mailed in two weeks, and they’ll be crowded. Way down near the bottom of your ballot will be the Jeffco Schools mill levy override and bond3A & 3B.

Why 3A & 3B Matter

Issue 3A will add an additional $33 million to Jeffco Schools’ operating budget, enabling Jeffco to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain the best teachers; ensure Jeffco students thrive in 21st-century classrooms that prepare them for college and careers by expanding programs such as STEM, STEAM, Art, Music, and career tech; and, increase safety, security and mental health services.

Issue 3B will enable Jeffco Schools to upgrade safety and security in school buildings; make long-overdue repairs and improvements to 110 schools; renovate or expand 45 schools; build four replacement schools; and build three new schools in high growth areas. Approval of the bond will also ensure Jeffco students have access to updated technology when they’re learning. Remember, the average Jeffco School is 45 years old, and Jeffco has not invested in new space since the 2004 bond.

What’s At Stake

If 3A and 3B don’t pass, Jeffco’s Board of Education will have to make difficult decisions regarding program and personnel cuts. 14446110_1468048463221612_7019571440195103702_nPossibilities, especially in overcrowded areas of the district, include boundary changes, year round or split schedules – where half of the students attend school during the first part of the day and the other half attend school during the latter part of the day. Jeffco also won’t be able to stay competitive with surrounding districts when it comes to hiring and keeping the best teachers, and may have to cut staff, so expect the exodus of great educators to continue. We will also likely see some schools closed and others consolidated. Class sizes will grow, and bus routes will get longer. Most significantly, there will be fewer classroom resources and educational opportunities for Jeffco Students.

Dozens of school districts around our state are asking voters for additional school funding, including six of the seven largest districts in the Metro Area. Already Jeffco is at or near the bottom of those districts when it comes to per pupil funding from the state, per pupil mill levy override dollars and outstanding bonds per pupil. If those other districts pass their measures and Jeffco does not, our district will be solidly at the bottom, and who knows how long we would remain there.

How You Can Help

There are many ways to help ensure Jeffco voters have the information they need to support 3A & 3B:

Board Community Forums

If you have questions, please attend one of the remaining community forums hosted by Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education members. And consider attending the following forums, which are open to the public to learn about ballot issues and candidates.

Donate to Share the Facts

This video explains why so many districts are seeking local education funding. Donate to the Jeffco Schools mill and bond campaign – Yes on 3A & 3B, to ensure Jeffco voters have factual information about why these measures are so important to 86,000 Jeffco students.

Community Support

We are grateful for the recent endorsements of 3A & 3B by the Jeffco League of Women Voters, the Westminster City Council (unanimous) and the Golden City Council (unanimous).

Thank you from all of us here at Jeffco School Board Watch to all of you for anything and everything you can do to help Jeffco pass 3A & 3B November 8.

3A3B

JeffCo Proud!

7.13.15 Jeffco Parents Speak Out (Our First Guest Column — Non-“Union Operative” Division)

Remember this comments, by a former Jeffco communications director on a certain right-wing talk radio station?

The so-called parents that they’ve drummed up…

There’s no way young students could have put those together.

There’s clearly some sort of mill where they create this correspondence….

When a so-called scandal erupted, which was always created by this group, then there would be these, right away there would be this flood of correspondence about this “issue” by these same characters — the Wendy McCords, the Tina Gurdikians, their buddies, there’s a long list of names.

But we’re not “so-called” parents or “characters.” We’re parents, taxpayers and voters, and we will not be silenced.

Here’s one submission from our guest column contest:

As a parent in Southwest Jeffco, I am so glad that both of my kids went to Jeffco schools before the three “conservatives” were elected. What they and Superintendent McMinimee have done has ruined the morale for the teachers and the kids at the schools.

The trust that used to be there, the joy that teachers felt, and the fact that they have made so many good teachers leave this district is a direct result of their “teacher bashing” and their efforts to privatize the schools.

I don’t work in the education field and I find it sad to see how they have demoralized the profession and ruined what was a wonderful district. The teachers I know went into the profession to help kids; not to get the wage that McMinimee has. Shame on these three…they need to go!

We’d like to hear your voice too. If you are a parent, student, community member, it’s not too late to enter the contest. Details are here.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.9.15 In Her Own Words

Recently Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee sent a communication to parents in which he denigrated teachers, saying that “dedicated teachers” were staying, indicating that he thinks teachers who leave are not dedicated.  Let’s hear some factual information instead from an extremely dedicated, highly qualified, and highly effective teacher from of Jefferson County’s excellent high schools.

I am a veteran science teacher with a degree in my field, over 10 years of experience, and a highly effective rating.  I chose to leave Jefferson County because I do not support the direction or the methods of Witt, Williams, and Newkirk.  I left for a district that values and supports its teachers, students, and community members.

The new pay scheme that was introduced by Witt, Williams, and Newkirk does not support the achievement of all students.  It makes it more difficult to teach at high poverty schools and to teach courses offered specifically for struggling students.  It gives teachers no incentive to continue their education.

Teachers need to learn from each other.  The new pay scheme pits teachers against each other to compete for the top scores on their evaluations.  It makes the relationships between teachers and administrators combative when it should be collaborative.

Witt, Williams, and Newkirk chose not to help our neediest students at the point in their schooling when it could make the greatest difference. They chose not to completely fund full day kindergarten to needy kids across the district.  They do not want to invest in our kids.

Due to their interest in a review of the AP US History curriculum, I am worried that Witt, Williams, and Newkirk will try to exercise more control over science curriculum.  I expect that they will try to impose their radical views on the teaching of what they consider to be controversial topics in science:  evolution, climate science, geology, and vaccinations.

Last year, Witt, Williams, and Newkirk showed that they have no intention of working with the teachers to come to agreement over the working conditions in schools.  They rejected the findings of a mediator and instead unilaterally imposed a compensation scheme on the teachers.

I am worried that future changes to the teachers’ contract will cause class sizes to increase.  I am worried that future changes to the teachers’ contract at the high school level will be expected to teach more class sections.  This will leave teachers with less time to work with individual students, develop engaging lessons, and provide feedback to students.

The propaganda machine at the district communications department will do its utmost to spin the facts.  Don’t let them bamboozle you.  Listen to the voices of the people who make up your child’s learning environment.

Note: To minimize retaliation against this teacher we are choosing to allow her to remain anonymous.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.2.15 JCSBW GUEST COLUMN CONTEST!!

JCSBW GUEST COLUMN CONTEST!!

Introducing JCSBW’s “Jeffco Community Supports the Recall Guest Column Contest! (Non-‘Union Operative’ Version)”

Why? Recently, Lisa Pinto, former Communications Director and political appointee for Jeffco Schools, proclaimed on radio that the recall can only be the work of union operatives, also implying that opposition to the recall can only stem from the teachers’ union. WNW’s sycophants at Jeffco Students First keep mindlessly parroting the same talking points too. Clearly they either lack good data about the opposition, or have too much of an active imagination. Time to both get serious and have some fun with this.

Who? Open to all Jeffco community members, except for Jeffco staff. Sorry teachers and other Jeffco staff; we’ll give you a turn later, and we do encourage you to keep submitting to Jeffco Exodus in the meantime. Contact us if you are a teacher but not a member of JCEA.

What? We are seeking submissions of between 100 and 300 words that include two things. First, you should convey that you’re not a member of JCEA, and that you don’t have any particularly close ties to it. Second, tell Jeffco why you support the recall in a few simple points. We will publish up to 10 throughout the coming months. Posting will be completely at our discretion.

When? Submissions must be received by August 1.

How? Submit to JeffcoOpportunity@gmail.com. We will do only light editing; any heavy editing will be returned to you for final approval. We understand the paralyzing fear out there, so your name may be included or kept anonymous at your discretion, but please be sure to let us know if you are a parent or community member and the general part of Jeffco (north, south, central, mountains) where you reside. We will not share your identity with anyone without your permission.

5.15.15 Students Survey Teachers…They are not happy

The fully student-based Jeffco Student Network for Change has posted the result of a survey they wrote, pushed out, and analyzed.  An attempt was made to present this at the 5/7/15 meeting of the BOE, but the speaker, a minor, was only allowed 2 minutes and unable to present the full results of their work.  She did a great job in the two minutes she was given, hitting the highlights very well.  We at Jeffco School Board Watch repeatedly have said that teachers are being devalued and there is a lack of trust.  Three graphics from this student survey help to verify this.

Do you feel valued as a district employee?

 (1238 responses)

And this graphic below shows a lack of trust too.  Some of the written comments back this up, with the sad remark that regardless of what the negotiating team does, Ken Witt will try to destroy any negotiated agreement.

Do you trust the district personnel to negotiate with the bargaining team in good faith?

 (1238 responses)

Card

Well, regardless of the BOE, has the superintendent earned the trust of teachers?  Data says otherwise.

Do you have confidence in Dan McMinimee as superintendent of JeffCo Public Schools? 

 (1238 responses)

Please take time to look at the student’s full survey results.  It is clear that this BOE has destroyed the good working relationship with the teachers association.  What is best for students is to have teachers in the classroom who feel valued and can see a future in Jeffco.  The survey results paint a grim picture if a reasonable contract is not negotiated.

Keep watching!

And keep informed as we head to this fall’s elections.