The Jefferson County School Board approved revised director district boundaries at last Thursday’s meeting.
The new boundaries do not affect school board elections, because members are elected by a county-wide vote. The director districts outline the area a board member represents. A map showing the director boundary changes and a list of schools affected is available on the Jeffco Schools website.
The board first discussed boundaries during a Feb. 28 study session.
Board member Paula Noonan expressed concerns about some of the changes to District 5 because three schools in the Chatfield articulation area would remain in the Chatfield articulation area but be represented in District 2. The three schools in question were Bradford Primary, Bradford Intermediate, and Shaffer Elementary.
The south area doesn’t have a city, so the three high schools link the area together, Noonan said. “I would like to maintain that,” she said.
Some parents and community members from District 5 also spoke in favor of keeping the three schools in the same district.
Board president Lesley Dahlkemper pointed out that although each member represents a director district, all board members also represent all Jeffco schools. She also noted that when director districts overlap articulation areas, sometimes board members from both director districts attend meetings jointly to better hear and represent the needs of those in their districts.
Boundaries have not been revised since 2007. State law requires Jeffco Schools to determine the population in each director district at least every four years and to revise boundaries as necessary to make districts nearly as equal in population as possible.
The 3A funds will be used as one-time funds for 2012-13 because they were not planned for or included in the budget for the current academic year. The 3A funds will be used as on-going funds for the 2013-14 budget and all future budgets.
Money from 3A will be used to restore the planned furlough days, staffing, technology expenses, and an extended school day pilot program. Some of the 3A money will also pay for the installation of secured front entries in all Jeffco elementary and middle schools. On-going funding is projected to include full-day kindergarten at some elementary schools, instructional coaches, technology and more.
Preliminary budget numbers for next year indicate that Jeffco can expect a small increase in state funding. As of Thursday’s board meeting, that number was $6,539, but is subject to change depending on state revenues and the school finance bill being introduced in the state legislature this year, Gillis said.
“Things are looking better but it’s going to take a while to get back to where we were four years ago,” said Lorie Gillis, Jeffco’s Chief Financial Officer.
Gillis also noted that it was time for Jeffco Schools to start rebuilding the reserves. The district used money in the reserves to soften cuts due to a drastic decline in state funding in the past few years.
We have the lowest reserves in the metro area, Gillis told the board, highlighting the need to set aside money for the reserves now.
The big message I’m hearing tonight is that we need to continue being cautious with the budget, Dahlkemper said.
The board also recognized Superintendent Cindy Stevenson for being one of sixteen educators honored as “Leaders to Learn From” by Education Week. Kerrie Dallman, former president of the Jefferson County Educators Association, was also named by Education week for her part in the budget summits held during the past two years to cut Jeffco’s budget in the face of large cuts in state funding.