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Budget Shortfalls Force School to Cut Teachers and Program

Low+enrollment+and+Jefferson+County%27s+failure+to+pass+3A+and+3B+have+forced+the+school+to+cut+five+teaching+positions.+by+Blanca+Praxedis
Low enrollment and Jefferson County's failure to pass 3A and 3B have forced the school to cut five teaching positions. by Blanca Praxedis

Low enrollment and Jefferson County's failure to pass 3A and 3B have forced the school to cut five teaching positions. by Blanca Praxedis

Low enrollment and Jefferson County's failure to pass 3A and 3B have forced the school to cut five teaching positions. by Blanca Praxedis

Blanca Praxedis, Staff Writer

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The United States has been going through some hard times with the amount of debt accumulated to keep the country running.

Money is not only a worldwide problem, but also a local problem that affects everyone.

The economy affects the population, businesses, and schools. Many schools in the United States don’t get funded as much as other schools in other states or even other counties.

Colorado, especially, has a bigger issue with money as Colorado itself receives less school funds than any other state from the government. This has been happening for almost 40 years. The amount of funds Colorado receives is “$2,070 less than the annual average,” according to The National Center for Education Statistics.

In 2016 there was a ballot issued in Jefferson County, which was called 3A. This mill levy would have given Jeffco $33 million to pay teachers and district staff, support students’ mental health, provide additional security, and support other items.

Along with this ballot initiative 3B was a bond issue that would give Jeffco $535 million to fund school building improvements. Both would be voted on and, if it passed, the county’s schools would be funded. If it didn’t, schools would remain in the same position. The bad side to it? If this initiative was passed the Jefferson County community would have to pay more taxes by $95,000 more by the state. For this reason, the ballot initiative was rejected. Jefferson County residents didn’t want to pay more taxes than what they already pay.

This ballot initiative was shut down back in 2008. An initiative was put into place and, although it was turned down, another initiative was successful in 2012 which was a $324 million bond for Jefferson County Schools, which kept the district from going broke after the recession.

But in 2016, these initiatives weren’t approved and, just like other Jeffco schools, Wheat Ridge High School didn’t receive any new funds whatsoever. These funds would have benefitted school supplies and other necessities such as security, improvements in the building, and better, improved technology. This would have been convenient to the students’ education, and it would have better prepared them for their futures.

The consequence of not passing these initiatives is that Wheat Ridge High School does not have enough money to pay some teachers’ salaries, hence, laying off some teachers and departments to stay within budget.

The Family and Consumer Sciences program is being cut, along with one teaching position cut from each of the following departments; English, world language, science, and math. Another affected program is the Gifted and Talented, which is working on alternative funding, as the district has told the school the program will only be funded for one more year.

The elimination of departments has brought some concern with how the school will function due to the fact that classes will increase in size and teachers will have to work more.

Fewer teachers mean more students per class. Once those teachers leave, there will be no replacement for them.

This drastic change has the community worried about how the system will function because each year the amount of incoming student’s increases. If teachers fail to meet the requirement of teaching more students at a time, the rating of the school will drop causing less and less funding each time. What’s the problem here? This issue could get to the point where the rating and the funding is so low that the school would eventually get shut down.

These circumstances would affect the Wheat Ridge community as a whole. Right now the problem hasn’t gotten to that point, but Wheat Ridge is going through a crisis and staying informed and engaged could really help the school.

This year has been showered with news and although they’re not at all good, keeping in touch with the things going on in the community is the best way to stay informed.

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Budget Shortfalls Force School to Cut Teachers and Program