In case you missed it, here's a great letter to the editor from former Lakewood Mayor Steve Burkholder.
Why should I care if the mill levy override and bond package (5A/5B) passes? I’ve lived in Jefferson County for over 54 years, I’m in my late 70’s, I’m retired, I’m on a fixed income and I don’t have any kids in school.
But I do care! My wife and I moved here in 1964. Jefferson County has been a great place to live, raise a family and to educate our two children in the Jeffco Schools. I feel I have an obligation to future generations to provide them with the same opportunities, particularly in education that my family had when we moved here.
As a former Lakewood Mayor, I recognize that great schools create great communities and vice-versa. Probably one of the most important single assets retirees have is their home. A quality school system enhances property values. I also sense a growing spirit of working together to invest in the achievement of all Jeffco students to enhance their opportunities and postsecondary success.
A mill levy override and bond package approval would ensure more students are ready for college or career. Our 21st century learning will make all students (from early childhood education through high school) more productive in today’s competitive world.
It’s time to step up and assume our responsibility to properly fund our neighborhood public schools for students, teachers and outdated facilities. Please join me in voting “yes” on 5A & 5B. Remember to vote and send your ballot in by Nov. 6.
Jeffco Schools 5A and 5B is in the news again with this story about what the bond money will improve safety and learning conditions in schools. Here's a few highlights:
“I believe we’re at a critical juncture and 21st century learners need 21st century school safety,” said John McDonald, executive director of the district’s security and emergency management. “To accomplish that we need to update buildings and bring them online with today’s world ... And at least for me, it’s the most important thing we can do. Every child in our school is our responsibility.”
“The average school in our district was built 50 years ago, so the threat of our time then was way different from what we face today,” McDonald said. “One of the things that we know from not only Columbine, but so many tragedies since, is the need to secure doors as quick as possible.”
“Older established parts of the community need reinvestments to help keep Jeffco a place to raise kids,” Glass said. “In our pre-1980s high schools, we especially have some needs that need desperate attention.”
Green Mountain High in Lakewood is one of those schools.
In August, water leaked through the roof into the library, classrooms and walls creating major problems as the school prepared to begin the new year.
Now, there is water saturation under the gym floor, which forced the school to cancel gymnastics and volleyball events.
Learn more about 5B on our Bond Basics page, get more details in our Breaking Down the Bond series, and read more about how the mill and bond will work together to increase safety and security. Next, endorse the mill and bond if you haven't already, and sign up to volunteer and remind our community to vote Yes on 5A and 5B.
We're thrilled to see so much support out there. Here's another letter in support of 5A & 5B.
Parents, grandparents, neighbors, community members, local business owners – all Jeffco residents should value investing in our students and our schools and vote Yes on 5A and 5B, the mill levy override and bond.
Just two years ago, every nearby district that asked voters for an increase in funding received it except for Jeffco, meaning those other districts annually have millions of dollars more than Jeffco to spend on their students. If Jeffco had Denver’s additional investment in students from a mill, it would mean nearly $82 million dollars more for Jeffco students every year.
The funding Boulder voters have approved for their students would mean more than $77 million for Jeffco students annually. If Jeffco students had the investment approved by Cherry Creek voters, it would mean nearly $63 million more each year. And in Littleton, voters have approved mills that would make a $45 million dollar annual difference for Jeffco students.
Meanwhile, the average Jeffco school is 50 years old and significantly behind in maintenance and improvements. Issue 5B, the bond, will benefit all schools in Jeffco and ensure Jeffco students have healthier, safer, higher quality learning environments. Jeffco students deserve the same investment currently being made by surrounding districts.
We intentionally raised our children in Jeffco for the strong schools. Over the years those strong schools have protected our property values and attracted businesses to our area. But if Jeffco can’t compete with surrounding districts, our students lose and our communities lose. Vote Yes on 5A and 5B.
Kelly Johnson, Jeffco Parent, Golden resident
Want to help support the mill and bond? Click here to volunteer!
We Are Jeffco is very excited to share this endorsement and press release from the Jefferson County League of Women Voters. Thank you for your endorsement!
The Jefferson County League of Women Voters supports the Jefferson County School District’s ballot issues 5A and 5B. Our schools need increased funding for student supplies and services, teacher salaries that attract and keep high quality teachers, building maintenance and safety, and increased mental health services for students. We believe that these funds will support the school district’s efforts to improve instructional services and increase student safety.
These funds will be used in a transparent way, with a citizens’ oversight committee, independent audits, and no funds going to senior district administration. The voters did not approve a bond issue in 2016 and the needs for the district have continue to grow.
The League of Women Voters supports equitable, quality public education for students. 5A and 5B will support student needs and contains mechanisms for accountability to the citizens of Jefferson County. Good schools are good for all of our citizens, but especially for the students who need safe schools, good programs, and great teachers now.
Voters always want to know their tax dollars are being used responsibly, and Jeffco Schools has committed to using citizen oversight committees and external audits to monitor and be transparent about funds from 5A and 5B. But did you know that Jeffco Schools also has won national awards for its financial reporting?
Jeffco Schools received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and CANADA (GFOA) this spring for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).
The award is the highest form of recognition in government accounting and reporting. In addition, the district has earned this award every year since 1983.Read more
Just in case you missed it: check out this story about how the mill levy override, 5A, will improve education in Jeffco Schools.
Here are a few highlights from the story:
“Right now it appears that we are a training ground for our educators who can go to any other district around us and made 5-15 grand more per year,” said board member Ali Lasell, at the Sept. 6 Board of Education meeting when the ballot language was finalized.
The other 50 percent of the mill focuses on mental health and school security; career and technical education and STEM options; instructional resources, supplies and technology; and early childhood education.
“We recognize that social, emotional safety is every bit as important as physical safety and security,” said John McDonald, executive director of the district’s security and emergency management. “Having well-trained security personnel, campus security and armed patrol is needed in today’s school environment. The other piece to that though, is social, emotional safety for students struggling. We’ve seen suicide threat assessments increase — and our teams do a wonderful job, but to keep up it requires that we have the same supports in place.”
Golden Transcript: Longtime Jeffco Parent (Aug. 16, 2018)
As I enter my 15th and final year as a Jeffco parent, I’m both grateful for the education my children have received, and discouraged by the opportunities they missed compared to students in neighboring districts.
Jeffco Schools has not seen a significant investment in new square footage or classroom maintenance since my oldest was in Kindergarten in 2004. And just two years ago, every nearby district that asked voters for an increase in funding received it - except for Jeffco. We are significantly behind our neighbors in the investment we make in our students.Read more
The Jeffco School Board unanimously voted to put a mill and bond on the November ballot, and also approved a resolution supporting the statewide school funding initiative Amendment 73 at their meeting on Aug. 23.
Board members voted after hearing Jeffco parents, teachers, principals and citizens talk for more than an hour about about how aging school buildings, low wages, and staff shortages are negatively impacting learning conditions for Jeffco students.
Sally Kate Tinch, Jim Earley, Kay Slater and Monica Buhlig, co-chairs of the new issue committee We Are Jeffco, also addressed the board and asked them to support a mill and bond in addition to Amendment 73.
“We have formed a team of dedicated Jeffco stakeholders to make 2018 our year to make school better for all Jeffco kids,” Slater told the board. “The value of the three ballot initiatives together is greater than the sum of the parts.”Read more
The Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education went three for three at its Aug 23 meeting, voicing support for a statewide school funding measure, and also deciding to go for county tax increases as well on this November's ballot.
The five-member board voted unanimously on all three issues — a $567 million bond, a mill levy override of $33 million a year, and the education funding bill Amendment 73 is estimated to bring $134 million in additional funds to the district.