On the Issue of 3A/3B
December 3, 2016
Filed under News
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As many educators would concur the quality of one’s education is often derived from the quality of one’s school, that has new technology, desirable teachers, and a roof with no leaks. 3A and 3B, a funding measure for schools, promised just that.
However, while Denver Public Schools passed the measure, Jefferson County did not.
According to Dan McMinimee, the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, “K-12 funding for 2017/18 will again be short of levels dictated by state law and we have no new local funding to fill those gaps.”
Tim Campbell, a teacher at Green Mountain High School, states that this will lead to major cuts to GHMS’ elective programs, after school activities, and sports among other things. This is not to mention the cuts against Jefferson County’s teachers.
“If I was a brand new teacher I would not even consider Jefferson County anymore,” says Campbell. “Why would I? We are devalued by the community.”
“I do a lot of the hiring for the math department, we are having trouble bringing in higher quality teachers because can’t we offer them more money than other districts,” says Larry Shavers, a math teacher at GMHS. “What 3A/3B was supposed to do was to give us more money so we could continue to give raises to our teachers and without those raises, people won’t want to come work for our district in June.”
Without reliable prospects of good pay for Jeffco’s teachers, it appears that Jefferson County is going to be “hands-down” outcompeted by the counties that did pass the measure according to Shavers.
The students of Green Mountain are stiff on the issue as well. Avery Unbehagen, a sophomore, states her mind on the issue in the simplest of terms, “It’s [3A/3B being turned down] bad. We should have more funding.” Unbehagen goes on to cite the poor state of Green Mountain’s technology as one of the reasons why.
However, despite the cuts happening to Green Mountain High School, the situation appears far more dire in Northwest Arvada where overcrowding might lead to split schedules, year-round schooling, boundary changes, or increased bussing, which Jefferson County will be expected to lack in the future, according to McMinimee.
There’s a lot to be said about why 3A/3B didn’t pass. As Shavers said – people don’t like paying extra taxes, especially if they don’t have children in schools. However, that doesn’t mean people don’t care about care about the issues. Campbell claims the measure’s loss had much to do with poorly educating the public on their cause.
“People are against raising taxes,” says Campbell. “That being said, people are against schools with lead in the water. People are against schools that leak when it rains, people are against canceling sports.”
Whatever one may believe about tax hikes, there is something to be said about the value of good schools in one’s community. According to the Quarterly Journal of Economics, parents are willing to pay more on a house for a school that scores better and provides a better education to their children, therein putting money back into the community.
“When you spend money in your schools, it benefits everybody,” propagates Campbell. “Even if you don’t have kids, it benefits everybody.”