EC School District – Time to come clean!

by the over-burdened County Taxpayer

It’s time for our local School District to come clean.

They’re simply (deliberately?) not telling you the complete story in their recent letter to you.  In the District’s letter to County taxpayers, from last week (Click Here) the District simply didn’t give you the complete story.

So the ECT folks will ask the District and its elected board – the questions the rest of the media around here – won’t.

1 – How many current School District Bond(s) are we paying on now?  How many millions will taxpayers have paid when these EXISTING bonds are paid off, and how many more years will it be before each existing School Bond is paid off?

2 – How much per Student, per year is the Eagle County Taxpayer currently paying – when the additional long term Debt is added in on a per student basis?

Perhaps the ECT can help jog your memory…2006 EC Ballot – EC Taxpayers approved a new $128 Million long term Bond for the School District.  After this the the School District Board approved “$7.5 Million Gadget” is how the District described it –

…”called certificates of participation. It’s a series of one-year loans, instead of one multi-year loan. That allows the school district to dodge the restrictions of Colorado’s TABOR Amendment that bans governments from taking on multi-year debt without voter approval. The Eagle County Commissioners used the same gadget to pay for their $38 million justice center/jail project.

The web site link to the above graphic can by found by (Clicking Here)

3 – Perhaps it’s just the ECT ‘s education.  We thought that when Colorado State wide voters approved TABOR – its intended purpose was to stop out of control government spending – that results in more taxpayer financial obligations – without a vote of the people.  Just what is it – these educators are teaching our children about the law?

Isn’t it time for County voters – to ask yourself – just what kind of a Community is your child/student is going to inherit when the majority of what your child earns as an adult, goes to paying the debt incurred by his/her parents today?

Local, State, Federal?  This out of control spending model really isn’t sustainable now is it?

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4 responses

  1. I have asked the following of the school district after reading through the Mill Levy notice just mailed out. The answers to these will help me (and you all?) make a informed decision on the funding issues.

    “Queries”

    Question 1) under “Another $2.1 million of budget cuts”

    a) What areas and what personnel are being cut from the District Administration office?
    b) What will be the annual cost savings to EC taxpayers when these programs and personnel are disclosed and removed?

    Question 2) Under current Cost Per Pupil (2010-2011) with the Old Battle Mountain School remodel loan now included, what is our current Per Pupil Per Year cost? (It was $11,325.07 per pupil, per year prior to that loan)

    Question 3) a) through g), regarding “Funding Solutions… decision until August”

    a) Are you going to charge for busing?
    b) Are you going to allow/fund school vouchers to save school tax dollars?
    c) Utilize a independent food service company rather than employ in-house kitchen staff to cook?
    d) Sell school vacant land? (If yes, what area specifically?)
    e) Sell school housing/ (If yes-what house/ duplex/ condo addresses specifically?)
    f) Close duplicate schools, by incorporating New America School and the two Red Canyon alternative schools into one campus.
    g) Close school operated/funded day cares and preschools, refer to ECS press release of March/2011 below.

    (This list above is cost-saving measures that other CO school districts have recently implemented to save tax dollars and still maintain current educational standards for their students – references and links are listed below)

    —————————————————————

    — Reference/links regarding my fact-finding school query–

    a) Charge for Busing, (three CO school districts)

    05/30/2011 Two north metro Denver school districts are proposing transportation fees to help fill the shortfall-
    * Denver district 27J expects to raise about $300,000 to $500,000 annually.
    * Adams 12 is proposing eliminating transportation for athletic competitions on Saturdays and eliminating athletic transportation for competitions within 10 miles of a school.

    05/16/2011 Jeffco schools budget will includes bus fees-
    * Parents of Jefferson County students are digesting what it will mean to fork over $100 next year for kids to ride the bus to neighborhood schools or $150 to get to option schools.
    * Jeffco school board also voted to raise athletic fees, from $125 a sport to $150 per sport.

    b) School vouchers to save tax dollars

    04/20/2011 School vouchers spell choice in Douglas County
    Douglas County schools launch a voucher program that will allow 500 students to attend private schools with public money. The school district estimates it will save about $3 million.
    http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17638788

    c) Outsourcing food services
    * 2001 survey, published in American School & University- food services, custodial and transportation consume the greatest proportion of school budgets. http://www.ncef.org/rl/outsourcing.cfm
    * COOPERATIVE PROCUREMENT SAVES MONEY One of the main purposes of cooperative purchasing is to enable school districts to save money-Northwest Colorado BOCES also includes procurement of food for nonprofit school food service.* Rick Barrios of Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) estimates his 19 rural school districts realize about 20-percent savings or nearly $130,000 a year * Mary Mitchell, coordinator for Widefield, Colorado, School District #3, says their five districts together save over $75,000 each year. * Pat Norton, coordinator of the Montezuma-Cortez REl buying combine of seven school districts in southwestern Colorado, estimates her districts save over $50,000 a year http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/nfsmi/Education/Satellite/ss16/cooptext.html#anchorsaves
    * Jan 26th, 2011 Finding money for the classroom is becoming more and more difficult amid declining revenue for the state and a drop in property tax collections-seek competitive bids for non-instructional services- food services could be contracted. “It’s about keeping more dollars in the classroom,” said Sen. Nancy Spence, of Centennial CO. http://www.coloradonewsagency.com/2011/01/26/senator-says-contracting-out-services-would-save-schools-money/
    d) Sell Eagle schools vacant land and e) Sell off housing owned by schools

    October 27, 2009
    Eagle County school board president Scott Green: potential sources of funding
    • Selling district property
    http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20091027/NEWS/910279956&parentprofile=search

    f) Close duplicate schools,

    * 05/15/2011 East Grand School District board, shortfall in budget – The option may mean closing the school- all the students would be moved to Granby Elementary http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18065862

    * 10/23/09
    Superintendent Sandra Smyser said “If you have two schools that are about half the size of a normal school, you’re doubling all of your administrative costs — two principals, two sets of office staff”
    http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20091023/NEWS/910239950&parentprofile=search

    g) Stop preschool/daycare
    3/25/2011
    EAGLE COUNTY SCHOOLS Press Release –
    Early Childhood Programs :
    Early childhood program serves children ages three to five at
    1, Avon Elementary Preschool,
    2, Brush Creek Elementary Preschool,
    3, Gypsum Elementary Preschool,
    4, June Creek Elementary Preschool,
    5, Red Sandstone Elementary Preschool and Red Table Early Learning Center (RTELC).

    6 and 7, * There are two infant programs each at the Edwards and Gypsum locations.
    * In the Fall of 2011, ECS is excited to announce that Homestake Peak School will also include a preschool options!
    http://www.eagleschools.net/index.aspx?recordid=1354&page=564

    TITLE:
    PRESCHOOL TEACHER JOB DESCRIPTION :Eagle schools
    QUALIFICATIONS:
    1.Masters in Preschool Special Education preferred.
    2.Active teacher certification or license issued by the State of Colorado.
    3.Effective communication and interpersonal skills.
    4.Effective time management and organizational skills.
    http://www.eagleschools.net/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=4774

    TITLE: Early Childhood Special Education/Preschool Director
    http://www.eagleschools.net/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=4797

    =========================================

    Class size and teacher effectiveness
    2011 Editorial Projects in Education research suggests that focusing on teacher effectiveness has a greater impact on student achievement. Faced with tough choices during an era of budget shortfalls- policymakers would be better off focusing on attracting & retaining teachers who are capable of working with larger classes, rather than trying to reduce class sizes for all teachers.
    http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2011/01/11/12020-educators-regroup-in-recessions-aftermath

    Eagle school district budget for 2010-11 school year
    Operating costs for next year will total about $55.2 million, down from $58 million this year
    http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20100609/NEWS/100619998&parentprofile=search

    September 19, 2006
    “The wish list for a proposed tax increase”
    Former Eagle County Commissioner Michael Gallagher said — how tax money is spent is an essential job of a public servant.
    “People have to have enough information to make a decision,” he said.
    http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20060919/ELECTION/60919003&parentprofile=search

  2. BTW, I am betting our school district can find the ‘Projected Change in per-pupil funding’ of minus -$386.00 (per pupil per year) by eliminating some of the above programs and consolidating low-enrollment schools, etc. rather than increase our taxes.

    Do we need to fund 6 different preschools within our schools (adding one more this year) and do we need to fund four infant care facilities or should we fund education for our K-12th students instead? That is the question we all need to ask ourselves.

    —————————————————

    EdNewsColorado “Find your district’s new budget numbers” Apr 6th, 2011

    http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2011/04/06/17150-find-your-districts-new-budget-numbers?appSession=851122585371035&RecordID=&PageID=2&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=desc&CPIorderby=PROJECTED_CHANGE_IN_PER_PUPIL_FU

  3. Just want you all to know that both Dr. Smyser ( school superintendent) and Mr. Onofrio (school finance director) replied in a quick, very nice and specific response to my questions that I had asked. ( above here)

    So If any of you wish to ask them any questions, they are like dealing with former school superintendent John Brendza and former finance directer, Karen Strakbein, both prompt and forthcoming with information. (And I have a real respect for John and Karen, to this day btw.)

  4. Pingback: Eagle County School District – Update «

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