School Board Considers $20 Million in Proposed Budget Reallocations for 2017/18
Without the passing of 3A/3B – the Jefferson County School Board is looking at making some hard choices.
The Board set budget priorities for staff in November:
- Competitive compensation for employees – Jeffco Public Schools current salary levels lag behind surrounding districts and affect the district’s ability to attract and retain quality teachers and staff
- Maintain school funding levels through student based budgeting
- Keep school buildings warm, safe, and dry. – Schools in the district are an average of 45 years old and capital improvement funds are below levels needed to address aging infrastructure.
To meet these two needs and keep per student funding stable in schools with no additional local funds or full funding from the state, reallocations are necessary. The budget proposals presented to the Board by staff on Thursday, January 26th, 2017 reflected a shift – curbing some programs, closing some schools, and more – in order to meet the priorities.
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A few of the proposed reallocations include:
- Close five elementary schools: Peck (Arvada), Pennington (Wheat Ridge), Pleasant View (Golden), Stober (Lakewood), and Swanson (Arvada)
- Increase building/field use fees to levels comparable to surrounding school districts
- Increase athletics fees
- Reduce district wide budget items (fuel, utilities, custodial services, etc.)
- Reduce educational research and design staff, move some expenses over to grant funding, and reduce overall expenses
- Reduce central services staff including achievement directors, administrative support, educator effectiveness, social/emotional support, and gifted and talented teachers
- Reduce technology staff and reduce services including security filtering on devices used at home
- Eliminate busing to option schools and outdoor lab schools
For full details, see the presentation materials on agenda items 2.05 and 2.06 of school board meeting: http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=AHAT6L75D903.
The entire proposal totals over $20 million in reallocations and includes a reduction of 136 staff positions. The district hires numerous employees every year and many of the displaced employees would be able to move to other positions within the school district.
“We are in dire financial straits, and it’s clear we are going to have to take action,” said Jeffco Public Schools Board President Ron Mitchell.
The Board will give some direction on the proposed reallocations on Feb. 9, though the budget will not be final until May 9. There are many opportunities for public input, including the online budget tool open through Feb. 10: http://jeffcoschools.citizenbudget.com/. For more details and full meeting schedule go to www.jeffcopublicschools.org.