As a member on the Board of Directors at our school, one of the tasks I’m charged with is keeping the parents at our school informed about what is happening at the district, especially if those things can impact charter schools. Without a crystal ball, it’s hard to say for certain what will come to fruition should some things come to pass. (And even then, those crystal balls are tricksters at times. Or so I’m told.) 😉
I’m a writer. It’s what I do. The perfect way to get a message out is to write a letter. I can do that!
That said, politically, there are things I can’t say in a certain way when using district resources. Allegedly. I stand behind what I have to say and suggest that it’s NOT opinion, but rather ’emotional facts,’ but at the end of the day, which battle do you fight? Do you get the emphatic message out to a few people, or a slightly more subtle message out to everyone?
How do I play it safe AND inform our parents about just how important these issues are?
Well, guess what! This website is my own personal platform. It has been since 2007. I’ve used it to tell stories of toddlers and preschoolers and the tales of motherhood and beyond. All my adventures are chronicled here. It’s shifted and morphed to become what it is today, all under the description “The Casual Perfectionist.” It is decidedly NOT a district resource. When fighting for equitable funding for charter schools, I posted things here. This letter will fit right in between the pictures of hedgehogs and our hiking adventures.
So, here is the unedited version of a letter that will be going out to the parents at our school. It is from me, the President of the Board.
I think the edited letter still pops, but it’s missing some torches and pitchforks. (Apparently those are frowned upon in that establishment, as well. Weird.)
So, read this. The only thing I’ve redacted is the name of our school. You won’t have to read between the lines, like some other version in the works.
September 2, 2015
Welcome to the 2015-16 School Year! I wanted to take this time to let you know about some things that are happening at the District level that may have an impact on our school.
As you may know, prior to 2014, of the mill levy funds, district-run schools were receiving $1400 per pupil, and charter schools were receiving $247 per pupil. This was a huge discrepancy, and I was one of the many parents who wrote to the Board of Ed and spoke during public comment on behalf of charter schools. We fought a lot of opposition regarding charter schools, and misinformation regarding charter schools still circulates throughout the district.
In June 2014, the current Board of Education heard our pleas and approved the first step in bridging the gap for charter schools with the promise they would close that funding gap in June 2015. They did just that. The budget was approved. With this extra money in our budget, we were able to give our teachers much-needed raises.
We went to bat again last year, and the final portion of the funding gap was closed with the vote on the budget in June of 2015. Now, the same people who opposed charter school funding equalization have called for a recall of the Board of Ed majority. In November, all five spots on the Board of Ed are up for grabs.
What does this mean?
Depending on how the election shakes out, the funding we were granted with the last budget could be repealed. The money we fought so hard to get could be taken away from charter schools.
Our children are public school children, and they deserve equal funding from the mill levy. The money that hangs in the balance for a charter school like ours can make a huge, positive impact on our community, and we need to do what we can to see that this equality in funding remains.
What can you do?
• Educate yourselves on the candidates running for the Board of Education, and VOTE! More info can be found here: http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/board/election.html It’s unfortunate that charter schools are caught in the middle of this political battle, but regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, these issues affect us directly.
• There will be a Charter Forum with the Candidates on September 21st at Collegiate Academy (8420 Sangre De Cristo Road, Littleton, CO 80127) from 6pm to 7:30pm. Mark your calendar and attend. Encourage other charter families to attend! Our voices need to be heard.
• Find out how the candidates feel about charter schools. Ask them questions. Do they understand that charter schools are public schools? Do they understand what a vital role we, as charter schools, play in this district of choice? Do they understand the importance of funding ALL children in JeffCo equally?
The reality is we’ve done so much with so little for so long, and we’ll continue to provide an excellent education for your children, despite this political upheaval. If the new members of the Board of Education vote to repeal the funding for charter schools, rest assured, our budget is in good hands. We’ve always made conservative financial decisions, and that won’t change. However, our job would be that much easier with equitable funding.
If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us.
JoAnn E. Rasmussen
Board of Directors