5 of 6 JeffCo School Board Candidates Commit to CCG Leader Agenda; Community Calls for Action on Housing, Gun Safety
On Tuesday, Oct 19th, Coloradans for the Common Good gathered 250 community members from over 25 institutions to advance campaigns for healthy food in Jeffco Public Schools, ending the staffing crisis in Jeffco Public Schools, creating an affordable housing trust fund in Jefferson County, and expanding testing of gun safety technology in police departments throughout the Front Range.
Jefferson County School Board candidates Paula Reed, Mary Parker, Danielle Varda, Theresa Shelton, Kathy Miks, and Jeff Wilhite all committed to mandating parent consent for student purchases of junk food and ending the practice of tying the pay of food service workers to how much food they sell.
“I have been informed by district staff that they make $5.5 million hustling junk food to our kids,” said JeffCo parent Elizabeth Anderson, “What is even more frustrating is that I wasn’t even aware this junk was being offered AND food service worker’s compensation is tied to their individual sale of these products. I personally find this policy repugnant, disgraceful and frankly, indefensible.”
Reed, Parker, Varda, Shelton, and Wilhite also committed to block outsourcing of school district jobs and take action to address JeffCo’s Education Support Professionals’ (ESPs) staffing crisis by increasing wages by $3 over two years, even if it takes a mill levy. Kathy Miks committed to block outsourcing, but was unwilling to commit to the wage increase if it takes a mill levy.
“It is no mystery that Jeffco is facing an unprecedented staffing shortage,” said Zander Bednall, a JeffCo Food Manager and leader in JESPA, “Lack of ESPs means modified menus and one person kitchens, which are expected to serve hundreds of students alone, inadequately cleaned schools during a relentless global pandemic, and burn out for those of us having to pick up the slack. This is a true crisis and requires bold leadership who will listen to us, the workers and the community, and work with us to solve it.”
Leaders also called on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners to use a portion of federal stimulus dollars to create an affordable housing trust fund and asked those in the audience to reach out to their police departments about testing innovative gun safety technology.