Jefferson County Public Schools’ proposed budget prioritizes things like family engagement, at-risk student support, maintaining dropout support and expansion of a teacher residency program. The …
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Jefferson County Public Schools’ proposed budget prioritizes things like family engagement, at-risk student support, maintaining dropout support and expansion of a teacher residency program.
The board of education heard these recommendations first at the March 7 public meeting and talked through them again at the March 13 study session, when they gave recommendations for changes.
Kathleen Askelson, chief financial officer for Jeffco schools, and her staff are working to build the 2019-2020 proposed budget through April.
Some questions from the board in March 13 discussion revolved around $135,000 set aside to expand the district’s participation in the Boettcher Residency Program, operated by the Public Education and Business Coalition.
The program takes individuals who have a bachelors degree in a content area and gives them a year of course work and field experience as they earn their teaching certification.
“Teachers in the program have long staying powers and outcomes relatively higher than other new teachers,” Jeffco Schools Superintended Jason Glass told the board.
Some schools in Jeffco already participate in this residency, using school-based budget dollars to do so.
This line item would bring nine teachers from the program to Jeffco for field-training.
“I think this sounds like a reasonable investment,” said board member Ali Lasell. “This is a modest place to start and will give us something to measure as far as its success for Jeffco.”
Most board discussion centered on budget items they wanted to make a priority including adding six more campus supervisors for safety and security; bringing back two previously reduced positions to increased access to support for all special educators (SPED) across the district; and hiring a consultant firm to evaluate Jeffco’s transportation system for options related to a later start time for middle and high school.
“I have been hearing about this since day one in this job,” board member Susan Harmon said of the increased SPED supports. “We are doing great work, but we need greater communication, contact and access to our schools.”
Board members said the later start times study, which has a $70,000 price tag, was should have a higher priority, per the recommendations of the school start time task force.
Things recommended by district staff for funding that to board was not persuaded on were increased funds for the online Enroll Jeffco system and giving elementary schools more money to give every kindergarten through fourth grade student a multimedia device. .
Coming up are community budget forums on April 1 and 2, with the board of education’s budget public hearing on May 2. The budget’s final adoption is scheduled for June.
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