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Jeffco Board Member Offers Tax Hike as Charter Funding “Compromise”

Another Jeffco school board meeting, another set of fun or crazy things to talk about. These meetings have become a regular kind of twisted entertainment for my family, I think. As best as I can tell, three big items went down last night.

The Denver Post and some other major media focused on the finalized contract for Dan McMinimee — which meets my expressed hopes of sending “the right message to tie a significant portion of the new superintendent’s pay to measures of performance.”

Chalkbeat reporter Nic Garcia covered a second important development, namely that the school board rejected the teachers union contract proposal:

Board president Ken Witt said he could not endorse the deal because the agreement provided raises to an estimated 56 teachers who were rated “partly effective” on the district’s evaluation rubric.

Sounds like a fair reason to question the agreement to me. Like it or not, both sides have given ground to this point. The Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA) wouldn’t then go out on a limb for 2 percent of teachers who are less than effective, would they? Yet with the JCEA earlier having closed negotiations from public view with a staged impasse, now they’re off to fact-finding.

Your head kind of spins when the same board member, Lesley Dahlkemper, who previously berated Witt & Company for having a more transparent superintendent hiring process than the last time around, implied the board needed to increase pay for “partially effective” teachers in order to “heal” the community.

You can’t make this stuff up. Speaking of which, another board member Jill Fellman about made my little head spin all around when she came up with a phony compromise to address charter schools’ unfair funding shortage. She and others haven’t been happy with a budget proposal to designate $3.7 million to ensure Jeffco charter students are halfway closer to funding equity.

Ms. Fellman’s twofold solution?

  1. Instead of sharing the $3.7 million, give charters a smaller amount of funds the state already had agreed to give them anyway — funds set aside to pay for facilities, not everyday operations; and
  2. Urge charter families to go out and campaign for another tax increase (?!?).

At some level watching these meetings feels like entertainment. But my mom’s angry reaction told me that Ms. Fellman actually meant her remarks seriously. Guess I’d be better off watching Looney Tunes. At least those characters are just slapping each other’s faces, not ours.