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Recently, in a guest column, Jason Glass made it seem that if the state repaid the “budget stabilization” factor the Jeffco school district could hire 1,000 more teachers or all teachers could see a 13.5 percent pay raise.
Unfortunately, there are two key facts that Glass failed to consider or mention in his column.
First, teachers’ pay was not the only budget item that was cut during the Great Recession. The 2016-17 Jeffco Facility Condition Assessment identified $575 million in deferred Educational Adequacy and Facilities conditions needs. This document also stated that these needs would grow annually by approximately $50M over the next 5 years. Shouldn’t some of the “budget stabilization” payback be spent on addressing these deferred maintenance needs? Shouldn’t taxpayers reasonably expect the school district to maintain the facilities we have paid for?
Second, even if the state repays the “budget stabilization” deficit at a rate of $76 million per year as Glass wrote, what happens in year 8 when the debt is paid off and the funding stops? Would Jeffco have to fire 1,000 teachers or reduce salaries by 13.5 percent?
By identifying some very specific uses and ignoring other equally important needs for “budget stabilization” funds, Glass sets unrealistic expectations with teachers. It clearly shows that he isn’t looking at the long-term implications or the overall needs of the school district, but is merely fanning the flames of teacher unrest.
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