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Residents focus on small classes, teacher pay

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By Daniel Laverty

As the 2014-15 budget begins to take shape for Jeffco Public Schools, increasing employee compensation and keeping class sizes small are top priorities for South Jeffco residents.

“I’m delighted to see how many of you care and want to give feedback regarding Jeffco education,” school board President Ken Witt told budget forum attendees at Chatfield High School on March 5. “Your input today is critical.”

Last week, Jeffco Public Schools hosted six community engagement meetings throughout the district to hear opinions of stakeholders as the 2014-15 budget is being finalized.

Residents of South Jeffco attended meetings at Chatfield High School on March 5 and at Dakota Ridge High School on March 8.

“I appreciated the format,” Jeffco parent Tracy Atlas said after the meeting at Dakota Ridge. “It was great to discuss concerns with other parents. It was also great to have district staff on hand to answer questions.”

Parents, teachers and community members broke into groups to discuss recommendations to the school board for the budget for next school year. Then, representatives from each group were asked to give presentations.

“We need to raise employee compensation to make employees feel valued,” a Jeffco parent said.

“Reduce class sizes,” said another.

Due to budget challenges in Jeffco, teachers’ salaries were reduced by 3 percent in 2010. The 2013-14 budget restored those cuts.

Attendees raised additional points, including increasing the number of electives, keeping an eye on students’ mental health, and making improvements to district buildings.

“Let’s just get back to the basics of education — math, reading and writing,” a parent said to applause.

Atlas said she will monitor the budget process to see if the community’s input is taken into consideration.

“I’m paying attention,” Atlas said. “I support our schools, and I’m interested to see what happens next.”

The school board is scheduled to approve the 2014-15 budget in June.

For more information, visit www.jeffco
publicschools.org.

 

Contact Daniel Laverty at 303-350-1042
or Daniel@evergreenco.com. Check www.ColumbineCourier.com for updates and breaking news. Follow Daniel on Twitter
@LavertyReports.