It’s time the schools work within their budgets
Director Sheila Atwell’s opinion piece against JeffCo ballot initiatives 3A and 3B appeared in the Denver Post.
Atwell mentions that per pupil spending has increased by 12% since 2004 while compensation has increased by 26% over the same period. From 2012 to 2020, taxpayer contributions will increase from 15.65% to 20.15% to teachers’ retirements, known as PERA, without asking staff to put more skin in the game toward their own retirements.
While teacher retirement spending has been increasing, without the school board or administration asking for concessions or negotiating, student programs are being defunded. Libraries, music, Outdoor Lab and young teachers are on the chopping block since they are the second priority to union backed retirement spending. Colorado has the highest school administration overhead in the entire country and there are places to make cuts that don’t affect the classroom.
The 3B bond issue is the result of mismanagement, asking taxpayers to approve of capital spending for what should be operational maintenance. A 20 year bond issue should go to pay for 20 year projects and maintenance, like new construction and major renovations, not normal wear and tear, something that should come out of an annual budget.