Friday, October 22, 2010

Letter from Joan Kniss, President District 27J Board of Education

Dear Editor:

We have no choice…we have to ask our community to support our children by voting “yes” for 3A, School District 27J’s mill levy override.

The facts:
We are the lowest funded school district in the metro area when it comes to mill levy override money. The district directly to our south Commerce City receives an additional $712 per student. The district directly to our west Adams 12 receives an additional $881 per student. And our district? District 27J receives…$55. Our community has only approved one mill levy override since 2000 which has resulted in the $55 per student. The students at Adams City High School receive $712, and the students at Brighton High School and Prairie View High School receive $55. Are we doing what is “right” for our students?
Due to the state’s financial crisis, the school district had to cut $6.44 million dollars from this school year’s budget.
Job cuts totaling over $1.3 million were taken from district level positions such as the Director of Gifted and Talented, the Director for Language and Literacy, teachers on special assignment who work with classroom teachers on instructional methods and assistant principals in the schools.
135 staff members lost their jobs including 81 teachers and counselors and 54 classified positions such as classroom paraprofessionals and campus supervisors.
108 staff members had their pay reduced.
ALL personnel took a salary freeze.
Programs were eliminated such as the Night School which gave students who have to work during the day to support their families an opportunity to continue their education in the late afternoon and evening.
Programs that we wanted to implement such as the International Baccalaureate Program were not initiated.
Fees were instituted for classes and athletics.
The District has been very prudent with its finances, but now, yes, even in these very difficult financial times for all, we have no choice but to ask you, our community members, to do what is necessary. Please, vote “yes” for 3A. The money will be used to reduce class sizes which in come cases are over 35 students per teacher by rehiring some teachers whose positions were cut for this year. Also, we will be able to put back money that was reduced this year in the supplies/textbook fund, and finally, we will use the money to update and repair technology throughout the District. The District is doing its part to spend frugally, but now we are at the point where the cuts are undermining our ability to serve our children well. We need your “yes” vote on 3A.

Joan Kniss
President District 27J Board of Education

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