When Jefferson County Schools waged a battle to take its schools back from corporate reformers, I blogged about it ad nauseam. There was much to write about. First the public needed to be made aware that there was even an issue. Then we had to motivate teachers and community to fight for it. We fought like hell and won a major victory.
Now we have something new to work for. It’s not as sexy as rescuing children from those who had a political agenda rather than kids’ interests at heart, but for Jeffco now, it’s just as important.
We have a mill levy and bond issue on this November’s ballot. These are biggies, and they’re vital to Jeffco’s future—both in the form of our children and in our overall economic prosperity. Like the board issue, it is important for those of us in the know to talk to our friends and neighbors, and in the weeks to come, we’ll be back out pounding the pavement and knocking on doors to make sure everyone knows—Jeffco Schools are in dire need.
We know that Jeffco voters are very skeptical about new taxes, and it is certainly valid to want to know why we are asking for approximately an additional $4.25 per month per $100,000 assessed value from property owners.
First, you need to know that at our current funding levels, Jeffco must spend $1,449 less on each child than Denver. We spend $1,151 less than Boulder, and around $500 less per child than Cherry Creek and Littleton. Is this because our children deserve less? I don’t think so.
Jeffco pays teachers, on average, 19 percent less than surrounding school districts, making it possible for them to attract and retain the best and the brightest. Do we believe all our kids deserve is new teachers who are gaining experience, while other districts’ kids deserve the fruits of that experience when teachers leave us for better salaries? I certainly hope not.
I truly believe that even people who do not have kids in Jeffco Schools (and that’s 70 percent of our voters) care about the children who surround them. They want bright futures for all our kids.
But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend there are some folks out there who only care about money. According to Realtor.com, one study showed that people are willing to spend 20 percent more for a house in an area with good schools. A 20 percent return on your home’s value seems worth the very modest investment of this mill and bond.
If you want to know more about how the money will be spent, click here and read up.
Then do the right thing for our kids and our community and vote yes on 3A and 3B this November.
As always, feel free to share this.