The Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education approved the 2018-19 budget June 7 at its final regular meeting of the school year. The new fiscal year begins July 1. The budget process began …
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The Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education approved the 2018-19 budget June 7 at its final regular meeting of the school year. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
The budget process began in December with public input, staff proposals and committee recommendations. When final funding levels are determined by the state Legislature in May, allowing districts to finalize the process.
The 2018-19 budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all employees. Jeffco Public Schools has provided a cost-of-living increase only twice since 2009, and the 3 percent adjustment is the highest in 10 years for the district.
The board also approved compensation agreements with both employee associations — the Jefferson County Education Association and the Jefferson Education Support Professionals Association. The agreements include pay increases in line with established compensation schedules, the release says.
Jeffco Public Schools has provided various increases (annual step increases, performance increases) in past years, but continues to make slow progress in increasing compensation deficits from frozen-salary or salary-reduction periods in the past eight years.
“We were thankful our state Legislature chose to reduce the Negative Factor (budget stabilization) that affects Colorado K-12 public education funding,” board President Ron Mitchell said in the release. “Instead of $75 million of state underfunding, we were only shorted $61 million. This enabled us to provide fair compensation to our employees as well as fund a few new endeavors that benefit our students. I am pleased we can make this happen, even though we have $2,500 less per student than the national average.”
Other additions in the 2018-19 budget include more funding to schools, a portion of which addresses equity issues; more support for schools, such as mental health and security; and a capital transfer increase to support infrastructure upgrades.
The board also met June 11 for its final study session of the year. Topics at that meeting included the community climate survey and future funding planning.
Superintendent Dr. Jason Glass reported on two recent surveys that show the majority of the community believes Jeffco Public Schools is headed in the right direction, and more funding is needed, the release says.
Possible revenue sources such as bonds, a mill levy override, and the pending state ballot issue (Initiative 93) were discussed. The Board of Education directed staff to prepare funding options for the board to review in August. The board will decide in August whether to ask Jefferson County voters for school funding in November.
“Though we received more state funding this year, it’s sobering to think this is the best it will ever be financially for our schools unless something changes,” Glass said in the release. “The economy is good, yet the state is unable to fund schools at the prescribed level. If the economy continues to improve, we will face TABOR refunds instead of recovering school funding. If we don’t seek new funding options now, our students will not have the resources they deserve.”
For more information on Jeffco Public Schools future funding, go to www.jeffcopublicschools.org/futurefunding.
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