June 24, 2017

Jefferson County Education Funding on the November Ballot

The ballot in November will include a new education funding measure for Jefferson County schools, including a modest property tax increase and bonding. The estimates I’ve seen project an increase in property taxes of $1.23 per month per $100,000 of home market value.

In the face of the recession and the ongoing state budget disaster, Jeffco Schools have been really aggressive in cutting costs while trying to hold the line on the quality of the classroom education. But in doing so they’ve run through their reserves and I don’t think they have much else to cut without doing real long-term damage.

Jeffco Schools have also been more open than many school districts to experimenting with new approaches to teacher evaluation and compensation.

I’m pretty sure the school funding system is broken – schools rely largely on a state funding and property tax system that basically requires they go back to the voters on a regular basis for tax increases – and I’m hopeful that within a few years the state will tackle the larger dysfunction in the way we fund schools. In the meantime, though, Golden’s quality of life and property values, not to mention the prospects of our children, depend a lot on how strong our public schools are. I support this funding measure and hope the voters give Jeffco Schools a much-needed revenue stream.

You can get more info at the Citizens for Jeffco Schools website. Also, stayed tuned to Radio Golden; I’m guessing we’ll have a guest on this topic sometime before the elections.

And, by the way, huge congrats to Jeffco Schools for achieving the third best graduation rate in the country among the 50 largest school districts.

Radio Golden #5: the beltway, Golden’s charter schools, tobacco, & more!

Episode 5 of Radio Golden is in the wild … I wasn’t able to join this time, but Pamela and Matt covered the beltway bill, what’s happening at the community garden, the tobacco regulation measure that City Council just passed, and more. They also had an interesting and provocative conversation with Jami Boarman, the principle of one of Golden’s public charter schools.

Hanging With the Shelton Student Council

Thanks to Justin Sagarsee of the Golden Transcript for letting us use the photo!

Another Justin Sagarsee/Golden Transcript image (thanks Justin!).

The mayor-elect and I visited yesterday with the Student Council at Shelton … they had great questions and Marjorie and I both had a terrific time. It’s extremely cool of these kids to be elected by their peers to serve on their council and to commit their time and energy to it. I look forward to listening to one of them, as mayor of their own town in twenty years, speak to a room full of kids. Thanks to Justin Sagarsee of the Golden Transcript for the photo.

Shelton’s “Reflections” Awards Ceremony

“Reflections” is one of Shelton Elementary’s coolest events. Students are invited to create an original work of art in visual arts, photography, literature, film production, music composition, or dance choreography. I swung by Shelton a couple of weeks ago to sit in on the PTA meeting and then to watch the Reflections awards ceremony. It was awesome . . . tons of Shelton kids participated and their impressive artwork filled the hallways. Twenty students are advancing to the Jeffco PTA’s Reflections contest, and some of those may advance to the statewide and even national Reflections event. Huge congrats to all the kids who participated, huge thanks to all the parents that helped make it happen, and good luck to all of those who are advancing to the next round. (Thanks to Jason & Michele Cummings for the photo.)


Michelle and Jason (who helped make the event happen) and Ashley (with a 1st place Award of Excellence).

Good News Breakfast

This year’s Good News Breakfast, earlier this week at the Fairgrounds, celebrated a whole bunch of folks working to improve literacy among kids in Jefferson County, with a particular focus on at-risk preschoolers. If kids are read to, and if they learn to love reading themselves, their odds of academic success go up a lot. I was happy to serve on the Honorary Board for the event.

The honorees: Jo Bryan, Bill Knott, and Friends of Jefferson County Public Library; the Literacy and Dyslexia Training program at Fairmont Elementary; the Jefferson County Education Association’s Read Across American volunteers; the Jeffco Literacy Project; King of Glory Tutors; Jefferson County Public Library librarian Mary Kuehner; Mary Kuklinksi; the Learning Source for Adults and Families; McLain High School Literacy Program Volunteers; Optimist Club of Arvada; nurses in the Jefferson County Public Health clinics; the Salazar Family Literacy Initiative (a program of the Jefferson Foundation); State Senator Evie Hudak; and the Literacy Teams across Jeffco Public Schools.

Education Funding Initiative Launched

A new coalition calling itself Great Futures Colorado announced last week a new ballot initiative that would alter the state constitution in order to allow the legislature to raise taxes without an election for funding preschool, K-12, and higher education. The constitution right now requires an election for any tax increase regardless of the size or purpose. The first step will be persuading the legislature to refer the measure to the November 2010 ballot. If they pull that off, then they’ll need to persuade the voters to approve it.

The state constitution is pretty dysfunctional when it comes to budget and fiscal policy, with a convoluted and nonsensical mix of growing spending obligations, sharp spending limitations, and some other elements that produce bizarre results ((like the Gallagher amendment, which pushes a growing and very large proportion of the property tax load onto commercial properties). And because all of these elements are in the constitution, they can’t be altered without the voters themselves amending the constitution. I’d rather that we tackle the mess all at once, since piecemeal efforts may result in new unintended consequences, but I also understand that sometimes the political reality requires an incremental approach. I’m looking forward to the conversation as everyone dives into the details of the proposal.

Jacob's Golden Update: Golden's New Transit Feasibility Study and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: November 28, 2009

1. Golden’s New Transit Feasibility Study
2. Jackson Street Corridor Project in the Works
3. New Email Newsletters Serving Golden
4. Council Adopts 2009 Building Code Including Radon Protections
5. Golden Vision 2030: Listening to the Community’s Stories
6. New State Transportation Funding
7. Rocky Mountain Deaf School Wins Approval for New High School
8. Adopting the 2010 Budget
9. Cindy Stevenson Awarded “Superintendent of the Year”
10. Other Upcoming Events
11. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, December 3

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Jacob’s Golden Update: Golden’s New Transit Feasibility Study and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: November 28, 2009

1. Golden’s New Transit Feasibility Study
2. Jackson Street Corridor Project in the Works
3. New Email Newsletters Serving Golden
4. Council Adopts 2009 Building Code Including Radon Protections
5. Golden Vision 2030: Listening to the Community’s Stories
6. New State Transportation Funding
7. Rocky Mountain Deaf School Wins Approval for New High School
8. Adopting the 2010 Budget
9. Cindy Stevenson Awarded “Superintendent of the Year”
10. Other Upcoming Events
11. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, December 3

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[Read more...]

Jacob's Golden Update: The Home Stretch on City Elections and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: October 19, 2009

1. City Council Elections: The Home Stretch
2. Golden Adopts Temporary Moratorium on New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
3. New Bike/Pedestrian Connector to the Rec Center in the Works
4. Kyffin Elementary Wins Healthy Schools Grant
5. Jefferson County Board of Education Elections
6. Political Campaign Sign Violations
7. Smith for Golden Blog Roundup
8. Other Upcoming Events
9. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, October 22

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[Read more...]

Jacob’s Golden Update: The Home Stretch on City Elections and Other News

Jacob’s Golden Update: October 19, 2009

1. City Council Elections: The Home Stretch
2. Golden Adopts Temporary Moratorium on New Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
3. New Bike/Pedestrian Connector to the Rec Center in the Works
4. Kyffin Elementary Wins Healthy Schools Grant
5. Jefferson County Board of Education Elections
6. Political Campaign Sign Violations
7. Smith for Golden Blog Roundup
8. Other Upcoming Events
9. Next City Council Meeting: Thursday, October 22

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[Read more...]