3.19.2015 – Notes from the March 5 meeting

We’ve already posted about John Newkirk’s surprise motion on the Jefferson Area plan, but would like to quickly cover some of the other topics from the March 5 meeting so you’re fully informed for tonight’s meeting.

There was a 4th quarter budget report and while most of it was typical, it’s worth noting that staff turnover is higher than expected. Also of note: the Two Roads charter school paid off its district loan. Two other charters who were approved for a loan and a loan increase last year, Mountain Phoenix and Collegiate Academy, respectively, are not borrowing currently.

There was also a compensation update—which is a topic on the March 19 agenda too. HR Director Amy Weber told the board that while it’s impossible for the district to make up for years of not having pay raises, they are talking about strategic compensation adjustments to recognize those staff members. Weber also suggested the board commit to some of the district’s proposals that night to help retain staff. (And no, they didn’t, which is why it’s on the agenda again.)

The district’s recommendations include the following:

  • adjusting salary ranges and individual salaries of principals
  • standardizing assistant principal work day calendars at 215 for high schools, 210 for middle schools and 205 for elementary schools
  • adjusting salaries for existing teachers in hard-to-fill positions so that new hires are not making more than existing staff
  • adjusting salaries for existing teachers who have a masters degree but are not being compensated for it. That only affects 75 teachers throughout the district, but those 75 teachers either came to the district or earned a masters degree during the period in which the district has not compensated for it.

One major — and deserved — recommendation is that substitute teachers see a compensation increase. Weber said that substitute teachers saw their pay cut by 10 percent in 2011, and they have remained at those compensation levels. The increase, if approved, would affect 1,700 substitute teachers.

Another major recommendation was that Weber pushed for compensating for master’s degrees. She told the board the district would be unable to hire the talent they need if they refuse to do so.

Staff recommendations for the hiring season include compensation for up to seven years of experience (bundled beyond that), for master’s degrees, pay for designated hard-to-fill positions that the district has consistently struggled to fill because pay is not competitive (i.e., speech pathologists. According to Weber, one speech pathologist who interviewed with Jeffco found that she would receive a $17,000 pay cut by moving from her current position to one in Jeffco. Needless to say, that’s not the kind of offer that attracts top-notch professionals). Weber’s team also recommended compensating teacher librarians and counselors for additional workdays.

Response from WNW was tepid at best. Witt warned that compensation increases need to be viewed as one-time events. Because potential cuts are forecast for net year, he said the district should be careful with their commitments.

Witt, unsurprisingly, is also opposed to master’s degrees that are not in a teacher’s content area. Weber was quick to point out that the district doesn’t intent to comp teachers if they their master’s is unrelated to what they do, but Witt continued to press his point. In fact, he repeated his assertion that teachers shouldn’t be compensated for unrelated master’s degrees that it was hard to tell if he couldn’t hear Weber saying that the district had no plans to do that, or whether (more likely) Witt was trying to throw suspicion on paying any teachers for a master’s degree by insinuating that tons of teachers got random, unrelated master’s degrees just to get a pay raise. As if!

Dan McMinimee jumped in to point out that there should be opportunities for teachers to be compensated for master’s degrees and also pointed out that the district was already into the hiring season, so they need to make themselves attractive to potential hires.

Witt requested more information, hence compensation’s reappearance on the March 19 agenda. The new March 19 presentation includes more information about what the district considers to be related master’s degrees and some other clarifying details.

Public comment included many of the usual cast of characters, both friend and foe. Of note: several people speaking in favor of the Jefferson Area plan (the original one, not Plan B).

The Alameda Plan was approved with no surprises. Also, since there’s been some discussion of why a new school isn’t being suggested to deal with overcrowding at Stein: at the February meeting, Terry Elliot explained that Jeffco Schools doesn’t own any land in the Alameda articulation area. Building a new school would require them to buy land and then pay to construct a school.

In northwest Arvada, both the Leyden Rock and Candelas developments have donated a parcel of land that is set aside for a future school. That’s been the policy for most Jeffco communities since about the 1970s (earlier in some places) and those land donations are what produced many of our amazing Jeffco neighborhood schools today.

It’s hard to see how the district could swing both a land purchase and construction costs give the current budget realities and the likelihood (or not) that voters would approve a bond for both. Remember, funds to expand Stein were part of 2008 bond proposal–which was voted down. A renovation is planned, and Board Docs mentions this:  “Conversations with facilities, district leadership, and community members will be scheduled for the Fall of 2015 to discuss the development of a new elementary school to serve the central Lakewood area.”

And now, a few notes on the March 19 agenda. Note that the board intends to vote on the remaining aspects of the Jefferson Area plan. The Wheat Ridge Alliance has withdrawn its support for Plan B, and from the news we’ve heard coming out of this week’s community meetings, the vast majority of parents aren’t interested either. We’ve seen reports that Newkirk himself said he wouldn’t vote for his motion, but we haven’t heard that he’s pledging to vote for the district staff’s recommendations either.

There’s also an update on employee negotiations at the end of the meeting that will be well worth watching.

The full agenda is on Board Docs, here: http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/Public

And the meeting will be streamed. Access to the link should be here: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/10429076/events/3542310

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


3.3.2015 – BOE meeting prep

Our thanks to Jeffco Exodus, who shared this post about the upcoming BOE meeting agenda with JCSBW.

Upcoming Board Meeting, Thursday March 5th

The BOE meets this Thursday, March 5th.  If you can’t attend in person, please plan to watch it live from home.  There’s a lot on the agenda – here’s the jist:


2.02, 2nd Quarter Financial Report – for the period 1 October through 31 December 2014.  There are four attachments for this agenda item:

  1. Summary letter delivering the Second Quarter Financial Report.

  2. Second Quarter Financial Report – this 62-page report provides the details and basis for the information provided in the summary document above.

  3. 13-page PowerPoint presentation of the Report

2.02, Compensation Update – Amy Weber, Chief HR Officer, will present the compensation update.  Slide 6 shows the average Jeffco salaries paid for principals and assistant principals are ALL lower than the mean for every position.  We don’t know if that mean is based on surrounding districts or market data, but Jeffco is noticeably low.  How will this help Jeffco attract and retain the best and brightest??


5.01, Correspondence – the BOE received 49 letters regarding last month’s staffing issues at Fletcher Miller.  Huge kudos to the community for standing with FM parents – quick action from FM parents and strong support from the broader community prompted a swift, decisive response from the District.  Thank you!

5.02, Public Comment – sign up online here to address the BOE.

6.03, Charter School Contract Modification:  Two Roads Charter School – the school wants to amend their charter contract to add 6th grade to their existing 7-12th grade contract, and to add a full-time elementary program for full-time athletes who are not able to attend classes during the traditional school day (specifically families from a competitive gymnastics program).  Here is their application and here is the board’s resolution to approve from the consent agenda.

6.06, Resignations/Terminations – this past month, the district has received the following resignations:  2 administrators, 9 licensed, 17 classified.

7.01 Jefferson Area Plan Approval & 7.02 Alameda Area Plan Approval – there are no attachments for these agenda items, but this is when the board will vote on whether to approve the Jefferson Area Plan and the separate Alameda Area Plan. Newkirk and Williams expressed excitement about the Jefferson Area plan at the last board meeting, but as we’ve seen before, that won’t stop WNW coming up with a new and different plan at the last minute.

7.03, 2015/2016 Budget Update – the board is expected to give preliminary direction to staff for the budget at this meeting, and then final direction on March 19th.  SPECIAL NOTE:  We strongly recommend that you review this presentation.  Slide 28 notes the results of the online budget survey are still “being compiled.”  We’re concerned that the board is being asked to give preliminary direction to staff for the budget before hearing from the 9,121 people who completed the survey.  Also there are NO SLIDES on the input received from SPAC/SAC, principals, or cabinet members.  We see way too much info on the National and State Economy and no input from key stakeholders.  NOT ok!!

8.01, Academic Goal Update:  Post-secondary & Workforce Readiness (Ends 3) – this 12-slide presentation takes a look at 2013-14 indicator rates as to whether the district will meet the Ends 3 goal that, “Every student will graduate career and workforce and/or post-secondary ready.”

JCEA Contract Negotiations

Support Jeffco Kids wants your help.  Due to timing, teachers cannot be present during at least half of the negotiation windows because they’ll be – wait for it – in the classroom teaching our kiddos.  Let’s make a real effort to show up to support our teachers in their place – and please encourage others to do the same.  Thank you!


March 4

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


April 1

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


April 15

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


April 29

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


May 13

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


May 27

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


June 10

Noon to 8pm

Board Room


June 24

Noon to 8pm

Board Room

Here is the full schedule of JCEA negotiation sessions.

3.4.2015 – One key update: JCEA says that only the March dates are set. The rest are TBD, as some of the potential dates and times conflict with PARCC testing.

Canceled Wednesday February 25 4-8pm Board Room
Confirmed Planning Session Monday March 2 4-8pm Board Room
Canceled Wednesday March 4 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday March 9 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Saturday March 14 8am-5pm Board Room
JCEA Monday March 16 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday March 30 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday April 1 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday April 6 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Saturday April 11 8am-5pm Board Room
JCEA Monday April 13 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday April 15 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday April 20 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday April 27 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday April 29 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday May 4 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Saturday May 9 8am-5pm Board Room
JCEA Monday May 11 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday May 13 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday May 18 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday May 27 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday June 1 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday June 8 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday June 10 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday June 15 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Saturday June 20 8am-5pm Board Room
JCEA Monday June 22 4-8pm Board Room
JCEA Wednesday June 24 Noon to 8pm Board Room
JCEA Monday June 29 4-8pm Board Room

All sessions are being streamed at this link, and archived recordings should also be available there:


Of note: the much-discussed facilities plan for the northwest Arvada and west Lakewood areas is not on the agenda, though Support Jeffco Kids noted that the expected student growth was flagged in the 2nd quarter financial report.

This last note isn’t related to the upcoming BOE meeting, but may be of interest:

Student Protest Leaders Speak Out

Sign up to attend Chalkbeat’s free event – Rising Up: Voices from Colorado’s Emerging Student Protest Movement. The Wednesday, March 4 (6-8 pm) discussion will feature student protest leaders from Boulder, Jeffco and Denver, plus local and state education officials and policy experts.

Jeffco Students for Change will also host a student-led public meeting/panel discussion on Saturday, March 14th at 9 am (location TBD, but it’s looking like it’ll be at Bear Creek HS).  All BOE members and the superintendent have been invited to be part of the panel along with 6 students from JSFC.  They’ll include a public comment section and a Q&A at the end.  Please plan to attend!  You can RSVP and learn more here.

Jeffco Exodus & Excellence

Are you staying in Jeffco? Are you leaving or thinking of leaving? Please share your stories with Jeffco Exodus (or on Facebook) – and, if you haven’t already, join our network to keep Jeffco informed.

A huge thanks again to Jeffco Exodus for their help with this week’s meeting agenda.

We hope to see you at the meeting on Thursday. If you can’t be there in person, we hope you’ll join us virtually instead.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!



2.25.15 – BOE Feb. 19 meeting notes

UpdateAs noted in the pre-meeting agenda commentary, there was a lot going on at this board meeting. Some of these topics will be addressed again at the March 5 regular board meeting, though it’s not clear what direction the board will take on any of them.

Agenda Item 2:01 Jefferson Articulation Area Plan
This was the first of three times where Superintendent Dan McMinimee praised the presentation group. His opening accolades of the work by the six principals on the team sent a clear message that the Board should seriously consider approving this plan.

The discussion was lengthy, outlining the plans that will impact Jefferson High School, Wheat Ridge 5-8, Edgewater Elementary, Lumberg Elementary, Stevens Elementary, Molholm Elementary, and Everitt MS. If approved, Stevens Elementary will move to the Wheat Ridge 5-8 campus, and the district is proposing moving Sobesky Academy out of its aging building to the Stevens campus. The presentation team, consisting of the principals from each of the schools, fielded the board’s questions with welcomed exuberance. They even surveyed students about the plan, using a statistical rating system for students, parents and teachers that rated their degree of acceptance of these impacts. The mantra became “I’m very excited!”

A key concern about adding 7th and 8th graders to Jefferson High School deals with their safety. These fears were addressed with diagrams of the school layout that essentially creates a school within a school, separating the younger students from the older ones most of the day.

Following the presentation, Jill Fellman asked what Wheat Ridge 5-8 Principal Warren Blair meant when he said they might need to request “Innovation Status.” Blair said while it would not be likely, they didn’t want to shut that door and wanted to be completely transparent with the community. A request for that status requires collaboration with the school community, JCEA and the BOE. Examples of items they might consider, for example, include waiver that might allow them to expand the school day or add teaching training time beyond the contract. Blair also pointed out any principal can start the Innovation Status process at any time, but it is a collaborative process that must take place with staff, community and BOE input.

John Newkirk questioned a plan that was put forward in 2006 of a similar nature and wanted to know why that did not work and how this plan was different? It was explained that former plan was for a K-8 school and not relevant to this situation.

Another major area of concern was the impact on moving Sobesky Academy, a special school that serves Jeffco students with severe emotional disabilities. Currently, Sobesky is in a building from the 1940s that is too small to accommodate the entire district population, and which also has safety code issues. Board members praised the program but expressed concern that these students may have a longer bus ride to the proposed new location on the current Stevens Elementary campus.

Lesley Dahlkemper urged more community input and the team outlined plans to incorporate parents in both summer and beginning of the year orientations. The principals were very honest in saying there is still much work to do but they cannot move forward without Board approval at the March meeting. The unified principal team was a major selling point for board members.

Agenda Item 2.01: Interest Based Bargaining Overview
This was an overview of the bargaining system that the district has used for a number of years. Dennis Dougherty, facilitator, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, explained the process step by step to the board:

1) Define the Issue
2) Share Interests
3) Generate Options
4) Evaluate Options
5) Craft Solutions

He continually reiterated that if either side comes to the table with a solution rather than a proposal, the IBB process would not work. He also described in detail the pre-preparation that involves team training and even the room arrangement for the discussion of the topics. The bottom line is that in order for this to work, the following needs to happen:

1) Trust between parties
2) Buy-in by everyone
3) Commitment by all members
4) Openness to options and alternatives.

Members of JCEA offered their view of the process and why they think IBB best bargaining method. At the end of the discussion, Ken Witt said he trusted his negotiating team to figure out the best method. He refused to allow questions or comments from other board members, stating that it was merely a training session. Dahlkemper in turn, insisted on her right to speak and added her own favorable impression of the process from when Jeffco Schools and JCEA have used IBB in the past.

Agenda Item 2.03: Teacher Licensure Process: Alternative Programs
Currently, there are nine teachers in the district — seven in charter schools — that have an alternative license. Basically this means the individual has a bachelor’s degree and has passed a content area test.

It was hard to gauge exactly where this conversation was headed except for this question by Newkirk, “Are we using Teach for America?” Jeffco does not use TFA, in part because TFA was originally organized to fill teacher shortages in inner cities. Jeffco Chief Human Resources Director Amy Weber also pointed out that historically, Jeffco has had a rich pool from which to hire teachers. Hmmm.

Julie Williams asked about Warren Tech. It was explained that Warren Tech falls into a different category and does not require an alternative license. Some of the Warren Tech instructors qualify for vocational certification, which allows them to teach using their area of expertise.

Williams also wanted to draw a comparison of highly effective teachers in our public schools compared to those in our charter schools. Weber very pointedly explained that we can’t compare highly effective teachers to charter schools because the charter schools are waved from a form of evaluation that would rate them. Cha Ching! Witt wants more information on this issue.

Agenda Item 2.04 Student Based Budgeting Update
There are plenty of questions to ask on this subject. This was a very detailed presentation explaining the formula for determining the amount of money a school receives to follow-through on their own budget planning.

This presentation team began by explaining the old-central office approach of allocation vs. local school control of academic funds. There point was the “once size fits all” did not’ work. During the presentation, sometimes it was confusing to know which funds belonged to the individual school and which monetary role still belonged to central office.

Fellman raised concerns that Jeffco’s sense of community could be undermined as each school has autonomy, and that the district might miss out on efficiencies of scale if schools are making individual purchases of supplies, textbooks and other programs. Dahlkemper brought up the concern that some schools will choose to drop their kindergarten program if they do not have enough kids. There were also concerns about whether the system could be “gamed.”

For example, could a school that wanted to expand its art classes cut back on music classes to do so? The answer is that no, each school has a strict set of guidelines they have to follow cutting back on any of the three elementary-mandated “specials” would not be allowed.

Many of the rules are linked to the current JCEA contract, and the big money question is what could happen regarding those restrictions should the contract not be renewed.

When Williams asked how this was going to impact the at risk or special needs students, the presenters pointed out that under this system, because of Federal funds to those groups, they may actually have more money to spend on services.

It’s also having an impact on full-day kindergarten in Jeffco. This deserves a much longer post. For now, suffice it to say that the number of schools offering free FDK is dropping from 40 Jeffco Schools to 26/31. Why the split number? Of the 31, 5 are schools that anticipate their entire kindergarten population will qualify for free FDK as free- and reduced-lunch children. The other 26 are using SBB dollars to provide free FDK. The rest will charge the $300/month number that has been set by the district as the kindergarten fee. This deserves a separate post and we will address it again in the following weeks.

Another big question: Will schools opt to get rid of an expensive teacher to hire two less expensive teachers? The current answer is no, an average salary is assumed for all teachers. What that seems to mean is that staffing for teachers is not being done by real dollar amounts, at least this year. It was a question that surfaced repeatedly.

Our best understanding is that, for example, a K-6 school with two classrooms per grade would state they needed 14 full-time teachers, and that in the current SBB system, the district would translate that as a standard money amount, regardless of whether that school’s specific teachers are more or less experienced. Any “shortage” would be made up by the fact that at other schools, some teachers are less experienced and lower on the pay scale, so it all works out at the district level—hence the “average salary.” McMinimee said he didn’t want schools to be in a position of choosing quality over quantity. It should be interesting to see how it plays out this year.

What quietly was pointed out near the end of this discussion is that under SBB, $2 million is being transferred from high schools to elementary schools to help balance out larger elementary class sizes. Chief School Effectiveness Officer Terry Elliot explained that most high school teachers were not at the high end of their daily student count whereas a lot of elementary schools are seeing classes of 28-33 students. (There was speculation on Twitter that this was only happening in areas of new development, but that’s not the case. Many of us know multiple elementary schools that are seeing extremely large class sizes even at the K-2 levels all over the district.)

What it will mean is staff cuts at the high school. This process is a radical change and it may still be too early to measure the positive and/or negative outcomes. We need to hear from the impacted staff.

Agenda Item 2.05: Classroom Dashboard Update
Four million dollars later…and? When the presenters themselves infer that this is its own “story”, it is not surprising that some of the Board questions were digging at the past history and the money trail. Superintendent McMinimee was smart to meet Witt’s question head on when Witt, the self-proclaimed “tech guy” began to question the character of the vender, LoudCloud. McMinimee flatly stated that Witt was correct and the vendor was essentially not doing his job. He made it very clear that Jeffco and vendor are back on track.

The Board members seemed to be expecting an immediate roll out of the program (Aren’t we all?) but Dashboard is still in the design stage with bits and pieces coming together. The first pilot started in January and includes 15 schools, but many of the components of Dashboard are not up and running …yet. With so much money already invested, this seems to be a wait and see. What the Board did request is an outline of security measures for this program.

Agenda Item 2:06 Alameda Facilities Plan Update
“Are you not as excited about this as Jefferson High School or are you just tired because it is so late?” Williams asked presenters about the Alameda Plan during the presentation. The reply from Alameda Principal Susie Van Scoyk was, “It’s late.”

Yet, this plan to move Stein Elementary students to O’Connell and grades 7 & 8 to Alameda High School was not presented with nearly the same enthusiasm as the Jefferson group with their plan. It was clear in the presentation that this Alameda High School change is a tougher sell to the community, students and staff than the Jefferson Articulation plan was to their community.

Elliot provided a detailed plan that showed that the planners are trying to allay the concerns of parents with the middle school/high school merge. Alameda will use staggered schedules and lunch times as just two example of keeping the middle school students away from the upper classmen. The key here for the change is about Stein Elementary. It was presented as the best option to help this elementary school.

Also of note: an expansion to Stein Elementary was part of the failed 2008 bond package. Expanding the school now is out of the question because there are too many temporary buildings and because there’s no place to otherwise put the children while expansion might take place. Is there a lesson worth noting here?

Don’t let them forget we’re watching, and keep fighting, JeffCo!




That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.

— Noam Chomsky

JCSBW readers, we’re happy to be back and back strong with a new plan to keep the posts rolling out.

And with that, it’s time for BOE Thursday Meeting Prep:

When: Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm.

Where: 5th Floor Board Room, Education Center, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden

(If you cannot attend, please watch the live video stream at: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/10429076/events/3542310 Also, please let Jeffco Schools and us know if you have trouble with the live stream. We know several people who have been unable to watch the stream. In some cases the stream pauses every 5 seconds, and in others there is video or audio, but never both.)

Overall Comments: There’s a lot going on at this special meeting. Two articulation area plans are on the agenda, as is an introduction to Interested based Bargaining (IBB), a discussion of alternative teacher licensure, employee negotiations, student based budgeting and even a classroom dashboard update. (Remember the classroom dashboard? It’s been a while since we’ve heard about it.) This is an important meeting that will expose more of WNW’s plans for the district.

Key Agenda Items

Agenda Item 2.01: Jefferson Articulation Area Plan (EL-11)

Type: Discussion, Information

PRESENTING STAFF: Terry Elliott, chief school effectiveness officer; Warren Blair, principal, Wheat Ridge 5-8; Celeste Sultze, principal, Edgewater Elementary; Rhonda Hatch-Rivera, principal, Lumberg Elementary; Heather Stewart, principal, Stevens Elementary; John D’Orazio, principal, Molholm Elementary; Michael James, principal, Jefferson High School

PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to be provided an update on the developments of the Jefferson Area Plan, for the articulation area schools in the 2015/2016 school year to support increased student achievement and opportunities.

BACKGROUND: Over the last few months, a group of dedicated school leaders have been talking, visioning, and researching strategies to enhance achievements and post-secondary options for our valued students in the Jefferson articulation area.  To address student achievement, student retention, program options and to improve state performance ratings for all schools, the Jefferson articulation principals developed an improvement plan framework focused on building stronger alignment of resources to address the environmental factors impacting the area’s K-12 student population.  The framework was designed to gather staff and community input in order to develop a Jefferson Area Plan with the first phase being implemented for the 2015-2016 school year.

An update on this plan was presented to the Board of Education at the January 15 regular business meeting.

Our Comments: The plan put forward here by the principals is a means of being pro-active in addressing the environmental factors that are impacting educational outcomes for students in the community. By moving forward with a plan, the principals are claiming ownership of the problem and solutions.

Including more teacher and parent input in this beginning process would present a stronger case to the Board and community that this is a feasible venture and needs to be considered in the planning. This plan needs to be owned by the community to definitely avoid a top-down decision from the Board that might fit another agenda.

Agenda Item 2.02: Negotiations: Interest Based Bargaining Overview (EL-4, 11)

Type: Discussion

PRESENTING STAFF: Dennis Dougherty, facilitator, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services; JCEA Bargaining Team member(s); Karen Jones, principal secretary, Columbine High School, CSEA Bargaining Team; Amy Weber, chief human resources officer

 PURPOSE:  For the Board of Education to receive the requested training on Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) as Jeffco begins negotiations with JCEA and CSEA.

BACKGROUND: Negotiations are typically conducted either through traditional bargaining or Interest Based Bargaining (IBB). For multiple years, Jeffco’s negotiating teams have used IBB. The facilitator who has worked with the JCEA negotiating teams for the past several years will provide an overview on IBB to the Board, and members of the negotiating team will share their insights as to the process.

Attachments: coming soon

Our Comments: Interest Based Bargaining is a joint approach to problem solving. By starting with an understanding of the issues and pinpointing the concerns that affect each side’s positions, IBB helps identify common views, goals, etc. of both sides.  It is defined as:

A negotiating strategy in which both sides start with declarations of their interests instead of putting forward proposals, and work to develop agreements that satisfy common interests and balance opposing interests. Interest-based bargaining is also called integrative or win-win bargaining. 

Interest-based bargaining goes by a host of names such as “consensus bargaining,” “problem-solving negotiations,” “win-win,” “mutual gains,” “collaborative bargaining,” “principled negotiations,” and others. Effective IBB includes:

  • Sharing relevant information is critical for effective solutions.
  • Focusing on issues, not personalities.
  • Focusing on the present and future, not the past.
  • Focusing on the interests underlying the issues.
  • Focusing on mutual interests, and helping to satisfy the other party’s interests as well as your own.
  • Options developed to satisfy those interests should be evaluated by objective criteria, rather than power or leverage.

The leadership style of the Board majority thus far has not demonstrated a leaning towards  “collaborative bargaining” as they have block voted on many issues not comfortable with the Board minority, teachers and/or community members. 

Whatever their interest in IBB, we suspect that WNW are hatching a plan to make the teachers look bad whatever choice(s) they make so that they can cut the contract. Their plans are likely orchestrated to wind up with that result no matter what approach JCEA takes.

If we’re right, then this is all window dressing.  All this despite the fact that there’s no data to support increased student achievement without the presence of a unified voice for teachers.” The reaction to the teachers’ discussion of the IBB process at this meeting will deliver a clear message of the Board majority’s intent for negotiations.

We will also note that JCEA and the BOE used IBB last year too, which begs several questions regarding why WNW are just now choosing to familiarize themselves with IBB.

 Agenda Item 2.03: Teacher Licensure Process: Alternative Programs (EL-11)

Type: Discussion

PRESENTING STAFF: Amy Weber, chief human resources officer; Karie Yenter, employment services manager

PURPOSE: The Board of Education requested a discussion on teacher licensure and alternative programs.

BACKGROUND: Teachers working in Jeffco’s neighborhood and alternative education schools must be licensed by the state to be hired as teachers. Additionally, they must be highly qualified in their content area.  Teachers working at our charter schools are not required to hold a teaching license, provided that the district submits licensure waivers. They are, however, required to hold a bachelor’s degree and meet content requirements.  All special education teachers and providers serving all our schools, including charters, must hold a state license. There are no waivers for these categories of staff.  Colorado provides a mechanism for teachers to obtain a license through alternative licensure pathways.

Attachments: Alternative Teacher Licensure Feb 19

Our Comments: The fact that this is on this meeting’s agenda suggests that WNW are already looking into alternatives to replace the hoards of teachers likely to flee after they cut ties with the union. As they’ve made repeatedly clear, they place more trust in untested individuals who have been doing anything other than teaching than they do in the trained and experienced professionals who have dedicated years of their life to being excellent teachers.

Agenda Item 2.04: Student Based Budgeting Update (EL-11)

Type: Information

PRESENTING STAFF: Kathleen Askelson, chief financial officer and Terry Elliott, chief school effectiveness officer

PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to receive an update on the 2015/2016 budget development process for school sites.

BACKGROUND: The Board of Education received an overview of the Student Based Budgeting (SBB) process initiative implemented by former CFO Lorie Gillis for the 2015/2016 school year.  The Board requested an update on SBB following the submission of budgets from the participating schools.  The discussion will provide details on the process and insights from the initial review of submitted school budgets.

Attachments: Coming soon.

Our Comments: District staff are already talking about the “second iteration” of SBB when addressing schools (or at least when talking to the schools who were about to have their school psychologist or social worker dropped to half time), so it should be interesting to see what issues they are already addressing in the first iteration.

We would also like to hear them address why items such as instructional coaches—who were supposed to be paid for through the 2012 3A mill levy override funds, are now an option schools can choose to fund (or not) in SBB.

Agenda Item 2.05: Classroom Dashboard Update (EL-11)

Type: Information

PRESENTING STAFF: Dr. Syna Morgan, chief academic officer; Brett Miller, chief information officer; Mary Beth Bazzanella, director, Educational Technology; Curtis Lee, director, Data Quality/Education Technology

PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to receive an update on the status of the Classroom Dashboard project. 

BACKGROUND: The Board of Education requested an update on the status of the Classroom Dashboard project. The presentation will provide information on the work completed to date and next steps.

Attachments: 0219 Classroom Dashboard BOE Update.pdf

Our Comments: It’s been a while since we’ve heard about the Classroom Dashboard. As a reminder, the previous board voted to cut ties with inBloom in November 2013, and the plan was that the district would move ahead with an in-house version of the dashboard—a move that would be more costly and take more time, but which was thought to alleviate many of the concerns about data privacy and security. 

Nelson Garcia of 9News recently did a story on the dashboard — a $600,000 project. When he contacted Jeffco, officials refused to answer any of his questions. We think Nelson’s wording was deliberate. Typically, journalists will state that a person or organization “did not respond to questions” if they were unable to get a response, but save “refused to answer questions” for situations in which a person specifically said they were not going to answer questions.

Is the district moving ahead? Are WNW trying to bury the project so it never sees the light of day?

Agenda Item 2.06: Alameda Facilities Plan Update (EL-11)

Type: Information

PRESENTING STAFF: Terry Elliott, chief school effectiveness officer; Susie Van Scoyk, principal, Alameda International High School; Jennifer Kirksey, principal, O’Connell Middle School; Samantha Salazar, principal, Stein Elementary School

PURPOSE: To provide the Board of Education an overview and update on the developments of the proposed solution to the facilities needs in the Alameda articulation area.

BACKGROUND: In order to meet the growing enrollment pressures in the Alameda articulation area, which have been reviewed by the Board, a proposal was developed by staff to create an additional elementary campus.  This move would utilize the current Alameda International High School campus to become a 7-12 campus with three wings (7-8, 9-10, 11-12) enabling the creation of a new elementary school on the site of the current O’Connell Middle School.  This would alleviate the over capacity issues at Stein, Deane and Lasley elementary schools and provide additional room for future growth in the area.

Attachments: coming soon.

Our Comments: This is primarily an attempt to address overcrowding at Stein without bothering with such pesky things as a school expansion or building new schools. Significant concerns regarding keeping 7th and 8th graders safe were expressed when this topic was discussed at the January meeting.

Agenda Item 2.07: Employee Negotiations (EL-4, -11)

Type: Discussion

PRESENTING STAFF: Jim Branum, attorney, Caplan and Earnest; Amy Weber, chief human resources officer; Craig Hess, chief legal counsel and executive director of Employee Relations; Steve Bell, chief operating officer

PURPOSE: The Board will continue discussions with the district negotiating team.

BACKGROUND: On January 15, the Board of Education adopted the resolution requesting the commencement of good faith negotiations for a successor agreement with the Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) and optional proposals with the Classified School Employees Association (CSEA).  Under Colorado law, school board discussions regarding employee contracts must be conducted in open session (except under specific circumstances).

Attachments: 2015 115 Att A reso Good Faith Negotiations.pdf

Our Comments: Preliminary discussions about negotiations have been anything but cordial so far. WNW have questioned interested based bargaining (see above), are insisting that the meetings be streamed and recorded (without editing…apparently they suspect that the streaming issues reported by others are subtle attempts to edit the stream as opposed to an actual tech problem?), and oddly, given their concern about then number of employed people who cannot attend negotiations during the day (including teachers!), voted for a mix of days, evenings, and weekends.

WNW are also strongly leaning toward jettisoning Facilitator Dennis Dougherty of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services because Dougherty has stated he will not agree to stream or record the negotiations. If they move forward with this plan, a facilitator will cost Jeffco taxpayers as much as $800-$1,200 per day, for upwards of $20,000 depending on how many days the negotiations take.

Predictably, Williams’ response to the cost was that the expense would be worthwhile. (That was her response to the budget survey too. Expenses considered worthwhile by WNW: a $90,000 per year BOE lawyer, a $10,000 budget survey that many people are unhappy with, and $20,000 for contract negotiations that will accomplish nothing unless WNW agree to negotiation in good faith—unlike last year.)

Agenda Item 2.09: Board Retreat

Type: Discussion


PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to discuss its retreat scheduled for February 28.
BACKGROUND: The Board has set aside the morning of February 28 to hear from individuals regarding school configuration and innovation in k-12 education.

Our Comments: The retreat was originally Julie Williams’ suggestion, because she wanted to know what education innovations in the 21st century looked like before approving $80 million in Certificates of Participation to build traditional schools in rapidly-growing parts of Jeffco.

 At the BOE’s Feb. 5 meeting, we learned that Steve House, who’s running to be the Colorado Republican Party Chair, will be one of the individuals talking about innovation in K-12 education. Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper questioned the choice, asking what experience had had in education. House’s experience includes a failed bid for the 2014 gubernatorial election and a long career involving IT, sales and healthcare technology. He is currently a healthcare consultant, according to Linkedin.

We don’t see any evidence of experience with K-12 at all, and questions by Fellman and Dahlkemper also failed to explain why a single minute of the retreat should be devoted to this speaker. Of note: he is a 2010 graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies.

When Dahlkemper asked Witt, “Who is the educator on this list,” Witt’s response was, “These are perspectives on education.” The other WNW speaker is Tony Lewis, the executive director of the Donnell-Kay Foundation, a supporter of school reform and school privatization efforts. After a long discussion, it was suggested that two others might be included to balance the discussion. Scott Fast and a representative from Job Creators Network were added to the retreat agenda. Perhaps Thursday’s discussion will shed more light on their motivations for choosing House and Lewis.

Let’s Keep Fighting, JeffCo!



12/8 Post – A Short Apology & Meeting Prep

sorryAs many of you noticed, the BoardWatch has not been updated for the last two weeks.  

The reasons for this were actually pretty prosaic – vacation, work, and illness.

The primary writers and editors of the Board watch all found ourselves beset with travel, work, and bad winter colds hammering us repeatedly. And the calls of family, paycheck, and sleep overrode our commitment to you.

We apologize for that, but we cannot promise that it won’t happen again in the future.  Unlike some of WNW, ‘we work for a living’, and the time we put into the BoardWatch is squeezed from other parts of our lives.  We try very hard to always have someone covering, but Mr. Murphy is always lurking nearby.

One thing you can always be assured of, however, is that we are committed, and will always do our best to keep you aware and informed.

BOE Thursday Meeting Prep:

When: Thursday December 11, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. (Greenwood High School Band plays at 5:00 p.m.)
Where: 5th Floor Board Room, Education Center, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden
(If you cannot attend, please watch via live video stream at: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/10429076/events/3542310

Overall Comments:  Words and pronouncements by can, and often are, twisted or ‘spun’ to either sound momentus when they are trivial or innocuous when they are very significant. But budgeting is where the real priorities are revealed. And this meeting will show us just what direction WNW really means to go.

The original four items in this section include the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, a review of what funding from the State can be expected, the proposal for the next “Community Engagement Survey/Poll” (This will be the third one.  WNW hopes this one will give them the results they want.  If not, will there be a fourth, even more tortured one?), and a “Teacher Compensation Update”.

In other words, the Board will discuss what the district’s current financial status is, what it may look like, how it should find out what the public wants it to spend money on, and how much they have been spending on teachers.

Definitely worth going to if education is important to you.

Key Agenda Items

Agenda Item 2.02:  Community Engagement: Community Diversity Advisory Council (CDAC)
Type: Discussion
PRESENTING STAFF: Members, Community Diversity Advisory Council, Dave Kollar, director, Student Engagement Office
PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to learn more about the work of the Jeffco’s Community Diversity Advisory Council and its continuing work with the district.
BACKGROUND: The Community Diversity Advisory Council requested time with the Board of Education to provide an overview and history of its work including the relevance of efforts with data supporting the Council’s work to increase student engagement and achievement.

Attachments: Community Diversity Advisory Council 12-11-14.pdf (4,088 KB)

Our Comments: Here is the word that Witt hates, ‘Diversity’.  The powerpoint attachment holds no real surprises for anyone who has been paying attention to education in the U.S., Colorado, or Jefferson County. More of our students are non-white, more are from lower income backgrounds, more are from other cultures. And our teaching and administrative staff do not reflect the accurately reflect those demographics.  JeffCo has been making headway on this, but as with most Colorado districts, is lagging behind the student population.  

What is most interesting (and concerning) is not what this report reveals, it is the fact that neither McMinimee or Morgan are among presenting staff.

How much importance the District (and the Board) places on a subject is often directly related to who is presenting.  If Jeffco’s Superintendent or Chief Education Officer were among the presenters, then that would be a definite sign that the Board and the District leadership sees this as a major issue, worthy of attention from the highest levels of JeffCo. The fact that neither McMinimee or Morgan are presenting sends an unambiguous message how just how important they think this issue is.

Agenda Item 5.02: Public Comment

If you want to comment on an item on the agenda, click here.

Normally, we would now give a list of items you may want to comment on and questions you may want to ask.  But this time, it is what has changed in signing up for comment itself that is worthy of comment!

Even if you do not want to comment, click on the link and then on the button “Next”.  Then read what WNW is now demanding of those who want to comment!

*1. Online Sign-Up

I understand, acknowledge and agree that in order to present an item to the Board of Education during Public Comment; I must follow these guidelines:

  • when I am called for comment, I shall approach the microphone, introduce myself, state my city of residence and present my comments in a respectful manner;
  • while presenting my comments, I shall follow the Board’s guidelines; and,
  • at all times, I shall refrain from using the names of any students and families that are not my own and from using defamatory or abusive statements.

I further, acknowledge and agree that if I fail to follow these guidelines or if I display disruptive or inappropriate conduct before, during or after presenting my comments, the Board president may:

  • revoke my privilege to address the board;
  • request I leave the meeting; and
  • if I refuse to leave the meeting voluntarily, have me escorted from the property.
୦  I agree to comply with the Jefferson County Board of Education guidelines for public comment.

2. For students under age 18.

My parent/guardian is aware I will be addressing the Board of Education during public comment.

୦  Yes

Just when we begin thinking that WNW could not overreach or be more ham-handed, they make that extra effort that amazes us again.

Apparently, the student protests at last month’s meeting bothered WNW a lot more than they have let on.

It would also be very interesting if this same conditions were applied to the members of the Board.

We invite you to think up your own questions on this agenda item!

Agenda Item 7.01:  Student Achievement: Third Grade Reading
Type: Discussion

  1. With the Board of Education’s continued focus on student achievement, time was requested to discuss third grade reading performance toward meeting the Board of Education goal in Ends 1 Student Achievement to increase students’ third grade reading in TCAP from 80% to 85% by August 2015.
  2. Dr. Syna Morgan, chief academic officer, and Matt Flores, executive director of Curriculum and Instruction, will provide information on challenges and action steps for struggling readers in Jeffco Schools.  School leaders Sherry Carter from Vivian Elementary, Rhonda Hatch-Rivera from Lumberg Elementary, Stacy Bedell from Eiber Elementary, and Achievement Director Karen Quanbeck will join Dr. Morgan and Mr. Flores for the Board of Education discussion.

Our Comments: As of today, there are no attachments.  We, the public, have no idea what is going to be presented, much less have any chance to review it ahead of time, and so offer our own opinions during public comment on this issue.  Are Dr. Morgan and Mr. Flores simply going to ‘wing it’?  We find it hard to believe that they and the school leaders will have done no preparatory work, and will have no formal presentation for the Board.

In our opinion, this is less than forthcoming, and definitely does not represent a ‘transparent process.’  

Agenda Item 8.01:  Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
Type: Discussion

  1. The Board of Education monitors the districtwide condition as outlined in Board executive limitation policies EL-6, Financial Administration and as monitoring for EL-5, Financial Planning/Budgeting.
  2. Kathleen Askelson and Paul Niedermuller, independent auditor from CliftonAllenLarson, LLP, will present information on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.
  3. Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S.) 29-1-606 (1)(b) requires that the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report be delivered to the Board of Education by November 30, 2014.  The Board received a copy prior to November 30, 2014.
  4. Colorado revised Statute 22-32-109 requires the district prepare a comprehensive audited financial report.  The financial report consists of financial information prepared by the district and audited by an independent firm and indicates the financial status of the district at the end of the reporting period.  It also provides a starting point for the annual budget preparation process.
  5. In compliance with Board executive limitation policies EL-6, Financial Administration and  EL-5, Financial Planning/Budgeting, the Board reviews and monitors financial reports.

Attachments: Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Jefferson County School District No.pdf (471 KB), Jeffco – governance letter.pdf (46 KB), Jeffco CAFR 2014.pdf (36,952 KB)

Our Comments: This is full financial report for last school year.  We have not been able to go through all 157 pages in depth at this point.

We invite those of you with accounting experience to review the documents and provide us with your feedback on what you find.

Grinding through these kinds of documents is not the most scintillating reading.  It is merely necessary for a truly functioning democracy.

Please send your comments to jeffcowatch@gmail.com or our new email address jeffcowatch@jeffcoschoolboardwatch.org.

Agenda Item 8.02:  2015/16 Budget Development – Governor’s Proposed Budget Update, Initial Board Direction
Type: Discussion (estimated duration: 1 hour)

  1. The Board of Education requested information and discussion time on the 2015/2016 budget development process.
  2. At the August 23, 2014, Board of Education meeting, staff presented recommendations for the 2015/2016 budget development process.  The presentation included planned changes and improvements to budgetary practices and the discussion of the objectives, budget timelines and specific questions regarding Board information needs.
  3. On September 4, 2014, the Board provided input and approved the budget development process and timeline.
  4. The purpose of this discussion will be to provide the Board with information on 2014/2015 enrollment and an update of the Governor’s Proposed Budget.
  5. Staff is requesting input and initial Board direction on any specific Board budget priorities that can be identified at this time and incorporated as preliminary placeholders in the projections.

Attachments: 8.02_Presentation 2015-16 Budget-Gov Proposed Budget.pdf (1,154 KB)

Our Comments: In a document filled with numbers, timelines, percentages, and ‘unassigned reserve balances’, the most important, and frightening thing in the presentation is not a series of numbers.  It is the new words WNW, McMinimee, Morgan, and Miller are now using to describe student enrollment in our schools.  And the first scary word is “Membership.”

Yes.  “Membership.”  It starts on the third slide with an upside down pyramid depicting “2014 Student Count”.  The top and largest segment says “Membership”.  It continues on slide four, where a breakdown of student “Membership” includes (and here is the second frightening new set of words) “District-Managed School Membership” and “Charter School Membership”.

Membership.”  As if being a child of school age is something someone can choose to be…or not to be!  

Membership.’ Something that has to be applied for…and can be taken away.  Something that is optional.  Something that is not for everyone.

We can understand having ‘membership’ in a political party, a religious group, a country club, a business group, and other voluntary associations. Associations that you have to apply to join.  Associations that can choose to reject your application, or turn you out if you displease it.

We reject the use of this word to describe the education of the children of Jefferson County.  

It is another attempt by Witt, Newkirk, Williams, their hangers-on and their ideological string-pullers to try to change the fundamental basis of public education by changing the terms.

Our children do not have membership in their classrooms, their schools, or their district! Jeffco is not an association that can pick and choose its members.  Jeffco is a public school district with the legal, ethical, and moral obligation to educate all children and a charter from the State of Colorado to do just that.  Those children form the Student Body, the Student Population, the young residents and citizens of Jefferson County.  And they should not have to ‘apply’ for “membership” to be educated!

The next scary set of words?  Did you notice that WNW no longer refer to the ‘public school’ or the ‘neighborhood school’.  Instead they have ‘District-Managed’ schools or ‘District Assigned’ schools.  

This is nothing less than an effort to prejudice the public against our public neighborhood schools by trying to assign them pejorative titles.  

Above we said that ‘spinning’ words is done to make something significant sound trivial. This is such a case.  By changing the student body of a public neighborhood school into ‘membership in a District-managed school’, WNW is trying to make it sound as if 90% of the students in Jeffco have made a bad second choice.

We reject that on its face as well.  

If you want to make a comment to the Board on an agenda item, this would be a good one to pick!

Agenda Item 8.03:  2015/16 Budget Development – Community Engagement Tool and Budget Forums
Type: Discussion

  1. Staff presented recommendations for the 2015/2016 budget development process at the August 23, 2014, Board of Education meeting.
  2. On September 4, 2014, the Board provided input and approved the budget development process and timeline. A component of that process was gathering community input on budgetary priorities.
  3. Staff engaged the services of Open North/Citizen Budget to develop the community engagement tool. An overview of the engagement tool was provided to the Board on October 16 and draft questions were provided on October 24 in preparation for discussion at the November 6, 2014, Board meeting.
  4. At the Board of Education meeting on November 6, 2014, the Board directed staff to provide information on polling. The Board decided to have each Board member submit five questions for review and consideration. Staff ceased work with Open North/Citizen Budget on the development and implementation of the community engagement tool until further Board direction.
  5. At the November 20, 2014, Board of Education study session, there was discussion of polling cost estimates and options for the community engagement tool.
  6. Information on a proposed plan for a Community Engagement Survey and a proposed plan for holding Community Board Budget Forums in January is being provided.
  7. Staff is requesting direction and approval of the proposed plans as well as specific input on demographic groups for the survey and table group discussion topics at the budget forums.

Attachments: 2014 11 26 BOE Community Engagement Survey Proposed Plan.pdf (119 KB), 2014 11 26 BOE Community Budget Forums Proposed Plan.pdf (100 KB), 8.03_Presentation Community Engagement Tool and Forums.pdf (78 KB)

Our Comments: Last year, every community survey and forum the District held to find out what priorities Jefferson County wanted as its priorities for district spending was completely ignored by WNW. Why?  Because the results did not fit WNW’s preconceived ideas.  

So in every case, WNW tried to come up with some reason why that survey or that forum was really ‘wrong’.  The latest effort was launched by Julie Williams – a telephone survey of 500 people.

What will 500 people tell them that over 14,000 did not last spring and this fall?  What will WNW do if this ‘poll’ fails to give them the results they want?

How much more taxpayer money will they spend desperately trying to find a fig leaf to hide their agenda behind?

Agenda Item 8.04: Teacher Compensation Update
Type: Information

  1. On September 4, 2014, the Board adopted a compensation plan for teachers for the 2014-2105 school year.
  2. District staff have implemented the adopted plan and met with teachers and administrators to discuss details of the plan that must be resolved prior to the spring hiring season.
  3. Amy Weber, chief human resources officer, will present an update to the Board with current thinking and continued work, in accordance with Board executive limitation policy 4, Staff Compensation.

Attachments: Teacher Compensation 12-11-2014.pdf (552 KB)

Our Comments: The attachment sounds more like a marketing slide deck being presented by a desperate sales person than a truly unbiased, information presentation.  

It starts off by using the same misleading graph that Witt claims to have put together at the last moment back in August.  Then, we have a (probably) spinning and enlarging sign at a diagonal exploding across it trumpeting 118 “Stipends” for $180K and “Retro pay” of $1.5 million.  It includes quotes from the Jim Collins 2001 fad business book “Good to Great” about getting the right people ‘on the bus.’  

Side Note:  Collins touted the actions and culture of 11 companies. Since it was published in 2001, five of the companies have performed only at the market average, two better than market, two worse than market, and three have effectively failed:  Pitney Bowes (½ 2001 market cap), Circuit City (bankrupt & dissolved), and Fannie Mae (delisted by the NYSE and taken over by the government).  Only two are still ‘Great’ in the sense of dramatically outperforming their industry segment:   Nucor and Phillip Morris.  This means the exemplars of Collins management philosophy have less than a 20% success rate over the long-term.

Anyone with an MBA from the first half of the 2000’s would have read this book. Anyone who really took the lessons of that MBA to heart would have checked on how well Collins advice has held up in the last dozen years…and then probably would not have used this quote.

The rest of presentation is something of a bad remake of the DougCo ‘pay for performance’ plan.  If it was as good as WNW+M3 make it out to be, why have so many of our most experienced teachers retired?   And so many of our other, highly experienced teachers gone on to Boulder, Cherry Creek, and Littleton?

Get ready for an attempted slick hard sell.  Think used car sales.

Agenda Item 6.08: Contract Award: Presence Learning
Type: Action, Discussion

  1. In accordance with Board executive limitation, EL-7, Asset Protection, “the superintendent may not contractually obligate the Board to an expenditure greater than $250,000.”
  2. The federal statute Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that students must have access to related services that have been deemed necessary in order to help the students benefit from their special education services and from the general education classroom so that they may achieve academic growth.
  3. Speech language services, occupational therapy services and physical therapy services must be provided in order to stay in compliance with current student IEPs in the district.
  4. According to IDEA, compensatory services must be provided if a student has not received the number of service minutes on the IEP.
  5. It is imperative that we hire related service providers for students that have an IEP or a 504 Plan.  Despite continued job postings for SLP, OT and PT service providers since May 2014, Jeffco Schools continues to have positions unfilled.  On-line services can be a stop-gap to ensure that students are receiving the services they require.
  6. Jeffco Schools will continue to search for related service providers to be employees of our district.  On-line services from Presence Learning will fulfill the required services to our students.  Although the shortage of SLPs, OTs and PTs is a state and national issue, Jeffco Schools will actively recruit and hire employees to serve our students.
  7. Request for Proposal (RFP) 23553 for On-line Speech Language and Occupational Therapy Services was issued on October 2, 2014.  The RFP was issued to 94 companies through Rocky Mountain e-Purchasing.  The District received proposals from six companies.  Three companies were selected to interview and demonstrate their system.  Presence Learning was selected for recommendation of award in an estimated annual amount of $267,300.

Attachments: Executive Summary SLP OT – Presence Learning 12-11-14.pdf (126 KB)

Our Comments: This item should normally have been part of the consent agenda.  One of the Board Members had to request that it be moved to the Discussion section.  At this point we do not know who requested it or why.  

Agenda Item 9.01:  Policy Revision: GP-17, Community Engagement
Type: Discussion

The annual work plan for the Board of Education includes the review of two governance process (GP) or executive limitation (EL) board policies monthly.

The Board will review Board governance process policy, GP-17, Community Engagement.

Our Comments: We know that WNW has not been very happy with the ‘engagement’ they have been experiencing from the ‘community’ so far.  Here would be the chance for them to do some actual soul-searching…or not.

WNW’s idea of ‘Community Engagement’ seems be limited to audiences who applaud them, rather than actually listening and considering what people who disagree with them are saying.  They do not understand the problems of hearing only what you want to hear.  Or actually giving serious thought to someone else’s viewpoint.  Far less, do they want to contemplate that they might be wrong.

They have continued their assault on the community’s engagement with the District.  In fact, in a twisted way, this plays to their advantage.  The more WNW can make people feel that the opinions, concerns, and thoughts of public do not count, the more those people will come to distrust the District specifically, and public government in general.

This works for them, because they fundamentally believe that government is inherently inefficient, and ineffective, if not evil.

And so their very actions, by destroying peoples faith in self-government can become the agents to fulfill their own prophecy.

At their core, they are not destroying just our school district.  They are attempting to destroy our very society.

Don’t let them.

Let’s Keep Fighting, JeffCo!