Monthly Archive for May, 2014

Curb Appeal

Click on the photos to see more detail, if you wish.

The three of us worked and worked today, and this is the result. I am SO PLEASED with how it turned out! The funny part was the fact that everywhere I wanted to plant a new big plant, there was an even bigger root from our old pine tree. One root was too big to extricate, so we shifted our plans, and burst into laughter when we discovered yet another root! That one was only about 8-inches in diameter, so we got it out. (We didn’t have all day to devote to root removal, and since we could shift, we did. Unlike what happened that other time.)

When we FINALLY got the root removed (which involved the Sawz-all, a chisel, and a sledgehammer), I kept a straight face and said, “You know what? On second thought, I’d like that plant to go over HERE.” The look on my husband’s face was priceless. I let him in on my joke pretty quickly for fear he’d have a stroke.

So what did we plant this time? (This area has a lot of shade, with only the tip of the peninsula getting any real sun during the day.)

What did we plant where? This. This is the proof.

Yes I did take a photo of this so that we’ll remember. You’d be amazed at how many arguments this tactic has solved!

In the first photo, you’ll see off to the right, the flagstone path. Years ago, we lovingly (and painstakingly — you can read about that here and here.) planted yellow iceplant, wooly thyme, and pink chintz in hopes it would fill in between the stones, and it has!

The joy I feel when I see it is indescribable and worth every pulled muscle to get that stuff planted and tended. I can only hope this fills in that way, too!

I love it.

Edited to add, June 1st, 2014:

“Mom!” Claire screeched when she looked out the window this morning. “The flowers we planted yesterday are happy. They’re REALLY happy!” (Two blooms opened today!)

Claire’s Half-Birthday, 2014

Today is Claire’s Half Birthday! (8.5…WOW!) In honor of that, here she is when she was 6-months old, back in 2006!

Unofficial Summer

It’s not summer yet, according to the calendar. That said, Claire got out of school on the 23rd of May.

All A’s All Year – Awards Assembly

The iris is blooming in full force.

…and our street construction crew has a sense of humor (or hasn’t actually looked at the sign).

Abracadabra!

I weeded* for over two hours yesterday and did so upside down apparently, because I later realized I should have sun-screened a portion of my back UNDER my shirt. Youch!

*weeded involves tugging with my entire body on weeds that are half my size. I was going to take a Before Photo but just opted to to tell you to google “rainforest undergrowth” instead.

The early alarms have been shut off until August, and I LOVE this time of year. Today, I was *this close* to wishing someone a great weekend. (Apparently it’s Wednesday? Who knew.) Unofficial Summer or not, it’s my favorite!

Equalize Funds for Public Charter Schools in Jefferson County

What’s going on with Public Charter Schools in Jefferson County Colorado?

In a nutshell, District Run Public Schools receive $1400 per pupil from the Mill Levy Override. Public Charter Schools receive $247 per pupil. This is a huge discrepancy, and frankly, it’s not right. It’s not something that was made clear to voters when we voted 3A/3B into being!

There is a new board majority on the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education, and they ran on the premise of equalizing these funds, and that’s what they’re trying to do. There is money in the budget to do so. They are receiving flak for this, a lot of which is being drummed up by the JCEA (Jefferson County Education Association, the Teachers Union). Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation is being spread about Public Charter Schools in Jefferson County.

Here is the truth:

  • Public Charter Schools ARE public schools.
  • They DO hire certified teachers, but those teachers are not part of the Teachers Union.
  • Public Charter Schools DO take Special Needs (IEP, Special Ed., etc.) children, and they ARE held to State Standards.
  • Enrollment in a Public Charter School is based on a Choice Enrollment lottery system.
  • Public Charter Schools are not private schools; there is no tuition at a Public Charter School. (Public Charter Schools that offer full-day Kindergarten or Pre-K programs do charge tuition for those programs, just like other District Run Public Schools. Half-day Kindergarten Programs at Public Charter Schools are free.)

In addition to the Mill Levy Override, District Run Public Schools and Public Charter Schools receive the same amount of funding from the state, HOWEVER, out of that funding, the Public Charter Schools are required to pay for their own facilities, maintenance, etc. The District Run Public Schools are not required to pay for those things out of that funding. So, in the end, the District Run Public Schools have a lot more money per pupil to work with than the Public Charter Schools do.

Because the Public Charter Schools have a flexibility over their budgets, they are able to provide a top notch educational experience despite this funding discrepancy. Public Charter Schools rely heavily on parent volunteers to make ends meet.

That said, the Mill Levy Override is something ALL taxpayers are paying, and it should be for ALL public school children. The fact that the Public Charter School kids are being left out is egregious.

Here are some great links to more information about what’s happening:

What Does Choice Look Like in JeffCo?

Bill Kottenstette: The Roundup with Alicia Caldwell (This goes to a video, so sound will play if you have your speakers on when you go to this link.)

More Money From the State

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ON EQUITY IN JEFFCO CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING (Prepared by Jeffco Charter School Consortium, April 21, 2014)

What can I do to help?

  • Email the Board of Education with your concerns regarding the Equalization of Mill Levy Override Funds and how important it is for ALL public school students in Jefferson County, INCLUDING PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL KIDS, to receive that funding!

Email the Board by clicking here.

  • Attend a Board of Education Meeting in person.

I have emailed the Board of Education; I spoke at one of the meetings, and I’ve attended another meeting as a member of the audience. If you’d like to speak in front of the Board, you can sign up to do so on the website. All information about the meeting locations and times can be found on their website.

  • Be aware of the information that’s being put out by (and to) the Board of Education. Here is how to find other letters:

Go to the Board Docs website.
Click on the meeting you’d like to see.
Click on the Agenda.
On the Agenda, find the Correspondence section and click on the file icon.
Read to your heart’s content.

What else can I do?

  • Dispel the rumors you hear about Public Charter Schools! Feel free to send people a link to this page if they want more information.


Mrs. Rasmussen Ingalls Wilder?

Today, in honor of Pioneer Day, Mrs. Rasmussen has donned her pioneer garb and will be teaching Claire’s class how to make butter.

No, really! I just can’t make this stuff up. No one can claim that I’m not a good sport. What I lack in skill I make up for in costume.

Claire, the little pioneer girl!

Pioneer Ladies

Elected to the Board of Directors

Well, it’s official! I’ve been elected to our charter school’s Board of Directors! I am SO excited for this opportunity and to start this next chapter!

Happy Duct Tape Accessory Day!

(Yes, she even made “spikes” on one of them!)

Plus, who *doesn’t* have duct tape that matches a fancy skirt? I mean, really.