Budget Priorities: Students Deserve MORE, Not Less

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We reached out to you recently and asked about your values for the Jeffco budget.  Here’s what we heard from you:

Jeffco students deserve MORE, not Less.

After hearing your input through several meetings and surveys this year, we have a clear vision moving forward.  You, our public education frontline workers, have made our priorities are clear. 

Please take a moment to watch President Lara Center’s  video message here.

As JESPA, we prioritize supports for the WHOLE CHILD. We work to keep students safe, healthy, engaged, supported, and challenged!

Jeffco students deserve:

1. To be supported: We need more staff to provide social/emotional supports, restorative
practices, and other positive behavior supports. We need inclusive school environments and a focus on equity. We can’t forget family outreach and engagement.

2. To be healthy and safe: We need more custodians to sanitize buildings and more bus drivers to get students to school safely. We also need more mental health supports,
better quality food, and more time for students to eat and take recess. We need our students to feel welcomed in school, and we need staff training in positive supports for students.

3. To be engaged and challenged: We need low class sizes and increased classroom supports, especially paraprofessionals and paraeducators, who support student learning and to
support students with special needs.

With these values clarified, JESPA we would like to present the JESPA slate of demands in
order to make the budget work while fully meeting the needs of the students we serve.

In order to keep cuts furthest away from students, we are asking that the Jeffco Board of Education:

1) Cut administrator salaries, and cut at a higher rate for those making 100,000 dollars or more annually.

2) Cut a number of central administrators and any redundant school-based administrators. Some schools with low enrollment have used SBB dollars to add administrators.

3) Cut all expenditures related to high-stakes standardized testing and test preparation as we know this doesn’t improve student outcomes.

4) Cut contracts to outside companies such as consultants, external management companies and small project construction that can be done in-house.

5) Spend district reserves, the taxpayer money that was intentionally set aside for emergencies.

6.) Scrap all plans for a $30 million Central Kitchen and go back to preparing healthy, fresh meals in school kitchens.

In addition to these priorities, we have a short window to speak to our legislators as they will be deciding on education funding over the next few weeks only.  This process will move very quickly.

We are demanding the following from our legislators:

1.       No further cuts to education – Keep the BS factor flat!

2.       Eliminate high stakes standardized testing

3.       Enact an emergency TABOR tax on the wealthy few and lower taxes for most.

4.       Eliminate unfunded mandates that hurt our ability to educate students

There is no doubt we are in difficult times but we must keep our eye on our highest values which is keeping cuts as far as possible away from the student learning experience which means away from
licensed and education support professionals! 

We are asking JESPA members to act in the following ways:

1.       Send a letter to the Joint Budget Committee demanding that the state budget is not balanced on the backs of our students!

2.       Write a letter to the Jeffco Board of Education about our funding priorities.  We had planned on public comment, but the board still has not allowed public comment except for written letters.

3.       And finally – we need to take action together.  We are working on statewide action on May 18th!  Please watch your email as we work out the details for action.

 

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Jeffco Education Support Professionals ensure the safety, health, and success of all students.

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