School Funding at Risk Right Now
Dear Jeffco Families and Staff,
I want to let you know of an important opportunity to make your voice heard at the Colorado Capitol.
An ad hoc coalition of school districts from across the state has come together to launch the Kids Matter Too Coalition. This statewide coalition is calling on lawmakers to ensure Colorado’s growth benefits families by increasing funding for schools.
Colorado school districts are coping with a teacher shortage crisis, shrinking funds for special education, and inadequate mental health services. Next week, the state budget projections will be released, and many expect a surplus. Lawmakers will be making decisions about what to do with this additional funding, and the Kids Matter Too Coalition is asking Coloradoans from every corner of the state to call for additional funding to benefit students.
- Colorado currently ranks 42nd in the nation in per pupil funding and 50th in the nation in teacher salary competitiveness. Next year, Colorado public schools will need to fill 3,000 vacant positions. This will be difficult with low teacher salaries.
- Funding additional mental health services is more than just a resource to help students succeed; it’s a student safety issue as well. Years of budget cuts have decimated the ranks of school counselors and mental health professionals. Our students and families need more mental health support in our schools.
- Only Oklahoma and Arizona spend less than Colorado on services for students with special needs. The federal and state government together only cover about 30% of the costs of these expensive services, which leaves individual school districts responsible to cover the remaining 70% with the dwindling funding they have.
We often hear in the news about the strength of the state’s economy, but our schools are still reeling from drastic cuts during the recession. Jeffco Public Schools alone has been shortchanged $642 million since 2009. Our students deserve better, and now the Legislature may be in a position to return some of this funding to our public schools.
I urge you to contact your legislators now to tell them how important it is to increase funding for K-12 education in Colorado. Kids Matter Too provides valuable resources to help you connect with elected officials.
The 2018 Legislative Session is moving quickly, so please stay connected to these important issues.
- Visit the Kids Matter Too website
- Like Kids Matter Too on Facebook
- Follow @kids_mattertoo on Twitter
Help us secure critical funding for our students here in Jeffco and across Colorado. Your voice matters! Thank you for your continued partnership and support.
Dr. Jason E. Glass
Superintendent & Chief Learner
Jeffco Public Schools