Jeffco Budgeting Proposals
February 14, 2017
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By Connor Gard
On Jan. 26, the Jefferson County Board of Education met to discuss budgeting issues for this and next school year, and on Feb. 9, they made some changes based on public feedback.
With 3A and 3B not being passed at the polls, the Jefferson County schools will be behind in funding in the next school year to come and is looking to the governor for additional funding.
If the board can not obtain the additional funding they are looking to get, they look to put in place a four-phase plan to help cut expenses as well as build funds for other expenses in the near future. Within this four-phase plan, the cuts and changes range from the removal and reduction of some staff positions to the closure of elementary schools. These phases are planned to be put into effect if the board cannot receive the amount of funds they have requested from the governor. The phases are laid out to cut expenses as needed, with each phase eliminating more central roles and increasing prices on some passes and fees.
The first phase is split into 1A and 1B, with 1A being immediate changes increasing the prices for athletic passes and fees, community building use fees, and the closing of five elementary schools. The schools that were under consideration were Peck Elementary, Pennington Elementary, Pleasant View Elementary, Stober Elementary, and Swanson Elementary, but the only one that will be closed down will be Pleasant View Elementary. However, the schools that have been spared aren’t quite out of the fire yet, as they will be looked towards again after next year. The closures of these schools would help to focus spending on more resource-effective schools. Phase 1B outlines the reduction in spending on utilities and fuel, reductions in sick and personal expenditures for staff, and a reduction in budget for consulting services. Alongside these cuts are the reduction of achievement directors and effectiveness staff members, office staff members, and the elimination of the support position.
Phase two will implement further staff reductions and cuts to other services, if passed. The service cuts include: nightly cleaning being reduced from 80 percent of schools to 60 percent, elimination of the community relations budget, device filtering, as well as option school and outdoor lab bussing. The staff reductions include further reduction in achievement staff directors, central social workers, and emotional support for students. Finally, there will be reductions reductions in expenses for literacy interventionists, content specialists, and support personnel.
The third phase goes a bit further and completely eliminates the roles of literacy interventionists, social learning specialists, and emotional learning specialists. As well as removing MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing for kindergarten through second grade and Mastery Connect, which are used to track academic growth and how students stack up to state and common core standards respectively.
Finally, the fourth phase also goes through eliminating 14 social and emotional support staff members funded under SBB (Student Based Budgeting) which is used to distribute staff and money for specific resources in schools, and reduction in assessment coordinator and technician, reduction of library coordinator, and secretarial support.
In the original plan for cuts, our Gifted and Talented program was at risk of being dropped, but has been taken off of the chopping block for at least next school year.
If the plan is implemented and all phases are put through, it would bring in a large sum of savings for the school board that will be used to reallocate resources to be more efficiently used, as well as help increase pay for staff. The staff pay increase will be used to keep our school district’s pay competitive with others, as many teachers go to the other districts for better pay. While these plans are not final, they are at least a solid, but adjustable, outline. With other meetings in the future we may even see more changes come to pass.