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Old 05-21-2010, 06:21 PM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,177 posts, read 58,353,146 times
Reputation: 19714
Quote:
Originally Posted by the3Ds View Post
I would also be curious to know how many parents voted NO on the DCSD bond/levy. Our neighborhood in CCSD overwhelmingly voted YES on ours and we are nowhere near as "wealthy" as Doug Co residents and certainly don't have a lot of money to just throw around. And, I would also love for those who are yelling about how unfair the fees for buses are, to be asked if they attended a budget meeting or if they voted for their levy. You can't complain if you don't participate and if you do participate and it still doesn't work out in your favor, sometimes you have to take one for the team.

There is a certain nonchalance among wealthy, white (it must be said) voters about schools. Most came from a decent background and have no idea what poorly performing schools are like. They take the fact that their kids will do "just fine" in school for granted and while that may be true in some cases, they are finding out fast that most schools operate on pretty bare-bones budgeting, most teachers spend a lot of money out of their own pocket for things, and PTOs give a lot of money to school "extras".

So when you vote NO on funding with the excuse that school boards make too much money or that there is too much waste in public education, it's the schools themselves that suffer first. No one, I noticed, is taking a salary decrease who works on the board of DCSD, and I doubt they will stop heading out on expensive out-of-state conferences and ordering overpriced catering for meetings. Even with the ridiculous boycott that DPS is doing over Arizona, it came out that their district conferences take place in Las Vegas. Taxpayer money being spent to send employees to Las Vegas. I'm not an expert on long-distance driving, but to get to Vegas from Denver, you drive across on the I-70 which takes you right by fabulous conference spots like Vail, Aspen, heck even Glenwood Springs! Even DPS doesn't bother to keep money in state, so I shudder to think of the waste that goes in to "managing" a school district.
DCSD board members are paid?
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Aurora
357 posts, read 808,187 times
Reputation: 265
Quote:
Originally Posted by the3Ds View Post
Yes, but there is a difference in looking at the "per pupil spending" numbers and actually seeing money being spent in the classrooms. Throwing money at a problem rarely solves anything...whether you're talking about schools, the size of government or even someone in a financial mess.

Until I got involved in the school district and in our neighborhood schools, I really had no idea how much goes into a good education and how much behind-the-scenes stuff is done. Each school operates differently, even in the same school district. While the school district plays a role in the curriculum, everything...from the bathrooms to the art supplies are managed by the individual schools.

My daughter goes to an elementary school in CCSD and her experiences...from the IPODs being sent home with kids who are falling behind, to her THREE field trips just for 1st grade, to the fact she can join a marching band in 3rd grade and gets to chose from a wide variety of extracurricular activities...that's all because of the staff and parental support of our particular school. Our PTO makes a lot of money and has decided to give teachers an allotment every year to spend what they wish. I didn't know that wasn't the same for every school, but after attending a few district PTO meetings and talking to other PTO boards, this is not the case at all. We are one of a few schools who offer that and the teachers sometimes "pool" their money to do some pretty amazing stuff. That's what goes into a good education...it's not how much each district spends on the students...that doesn't take into account the bureaucracy that skims money off of the top.

However...the deeper cuts that some districts are going to have to make WILL affect the quality of education. Some districts have to cut over $50 MILLION. There is no way to do that "behind-the-scenes" which means that parents will have to pay for stuff like buses, extracurriculars, more school supplies being brought from home, and probably increasing class sizes, etc.
ptos are based on the wealth or lack thereof of the school. that means that upper middle class schools with parent participation have more "money" than schools with parents that have less money. I ask you, is that fair? imo, no it's not. kids whose parents are poor deserve the same access to quality education as those whose parents are upper middle class. I firmly believe this and I'm willing to pay for this. This is why we have "public" libraries, and "public" schools amonst other things. No, the govt can't solve everything, but it can and should do more than it's doing.

btw, I have a very nice home in CCSD but we are not rich. I have that home because other taxpayers long ago paid for my schooling and let me have access to a decent education, gave me scholarships, etc. Time for my husband and I to pay back.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:20 PM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,177 posts, read 58,353,146 times
Reputation: 19714
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebeth79 View Post
@the3Ds - well said. Could not agree more.

It constantly amazes me how folks can expect the government to fund everything - and then wonder why there are budget cuts. It's time to wake up people and realize that the government can't possibly provide everything we want.

I don't care if you are a tea partier, republican, democrat or some other group - you have to realize that current attitude of government looking out for everyone is not getting us anywhere other than deeper in debt. In Colorado, much like the state I moved here from, we are constitutionally mandated to have a balanced budget. That means if we are going to be in the red somewhere, things have to be cut.

Is it fair that they are going after education - NOT AT ALL! But, don't even think about telling the citizens of this state (or any other state) to buck up and pay for something. Because we are "entitled" to have all this for free. Heck, we have so much we'll even welcome people here illegally and provide a free education and healthcare system to them, too. Because hey, we're America - land of opportunity - land of plenty. We'll boycott industry and even states that try to go against the system and not "give" things to people because they are "entitled".

Most "middle Americans" work hard to provide for their families, and yes it is discouraging to have to pay for things that we may have gotten for free when we were younger, but the government cannot feasibly continue to provide for everybody, and at some point the onnus has to be on the citizens to take care of themselves. Unfortunately today that means paying for a school bus ride, tomorrow it will be something else.

I, for one, think the district we are debating did what it felt it needed to do. And, they went with the majority of survey respondents asked them to do. That is government of the people by the people. No, it doesn't mean every person was happy with the outcome, but it was the best compromise they could come up with.

Don't look around for someone to blame, look at people's voting records. And voice your complaints at the polls.
The Colorado constitution guarantees a free public education to its residents.

School Funding 101 (http://www.childrens-voices.org/default.asp?page=30 - broken link)

Adopted in 1876, article IX, section 2 of the Colorado Constitution (the Education Clause) mandates that the "general assembly shall . . . provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state, wherein all residents of the state, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, may be educated gratuitously." The Education Clause guarantees to each and every school-age resident of Colorado the fundamental right to attend free public schools that provide an equal opportunity to obtain a constitutionally adequate, quality education.

Education is a government responsibility. I don't know enough about the DCSD to know if the vote against the bond was a good idea or not (IMO). However, bonds don't pay for busing anyway, they pay for buildings. It's easy to accuse a school district (or any business) of not using its money wisely, but harder to prove that is true.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:09 PM
 
Location: here
16,938 posts, read 13,908,354 times
Reputation: 13750
Quote:
Originally Posted by chilicheesefries View Post
I never really checked this out but got curious so I did a little research. Here are some walking distance boundaries for high schools:

Littleton - 1.5 miles
Jefferson County - 2.5
Aurora - 3

I'm torn on the issue of charging. On one hand it seems like it is fair to charge those that use it. On the other hand it might encourage unsafe behavior in parents making their children walk long distances or otherwise put into unsafe positions. I do like how they waive the fee for reduced lunch students. Isn't one of the criteria for choosing a house to be close to schools (but not too close). Apparently though this was what was chosen in a survey send to parents in the district so that seems to be the most popular (assuming however most of the votes came from parents of children who couldn't ride the bus anyways!)
I agree, and it will also encourage people to drive their kids to school which is a waste of gas and will cause more air pollution; and make drop off and pick up times that much more hazardous (more cars=higher chance of one hitting a student), and take that much longer.

When I first got the survey I said that I wouldn't use the bus if a fee was charged. However, I have changed my mind. I will most likely pay for my one school aged child to ride the bus next year. It is more environmentally friendly and will save me the stress of dealing with the traffic at the school. It is upsetting, though. This would never fly in an area that was not as "affluent." (I certainly wouldn't call our family affluent)
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:56 AM
 
5,748 posts, read 7,112,248 times
Reputation: 4367
Quote:
Originally Posted by the3Ds View Post
...from the IPODs being sent home with kids who are falling behind
What is that supposed to accomplish? Are they bribing children to work harder, or are the iPods being used as study tools?
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,206 posts, read 2,670,204 times
Reputation: 584
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The Colorado constitution guarantees a free public education to its residents.

School Funding 101 (http://www.childrens-voices.org/default.asp?page=30 - broken link)

Adopted in 1876, article IX, section 2 of the Colorado Constitution (the Education Clause) mandates that the "general assembly shall . . . provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state, wherein all residents of the state, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, may be educated gratuitously." The Education Clause guarantees to each and every school-age resident of Colorado the fundamental right to attend free public schools that provide an equal opportunity to obtain a constitutionally adequate, quality education.

Education is a government responsibility. I don't know enough about the DCSD to know if the vote against the bond was a good idea or not (IMO). However, bonds don't pay for busing anyway, they pay for buildings. It's easy to accuse a school district (or any business) of not using its money wisely, but harder to prove that is true.
Basically, the legislature is saying that Colorado has been paying way too much for free education. That's why they were able to cut funding to schools and still be within the bounds of the state constitution. I wonder what's the minimum amount they can provide for districts and still guarantee adequate quality education (how do they determine that?). I'm actually glad we can do well with less, our per pupil spending is one of the lowest in the country.
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:41 AM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,177 posts, read 58,353,146 times
Reputation: 19714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonwalkr View Post
Basically, the legislature is saying that Colorado has been paying way too much for free education. That's why they were able to cut funding to schools and still be within the bounds of the state constitution. I wonder what's the minimum amount they can provide for districts and still guarantee adequate quality education (how do they determine that?). I'm actually glad we can do well with less, our per pupil spending is one of the lowest in the country.
This was a decision of the DCSD school board, not the Colorado legislature.

Re: state funding for education, I disagree that the legislature said CO has been paying too much. The legislature had to cut funding because tax receipts were down.

Last edited by Katiana; 05-22-2010 at 10:57 AM.. Reason: clarify
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Old 05-22-2010, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,206 posts, read 2,670,204 times
Reputation: 584
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
This was a decision of the DCSD school board, not the Colorado legislature.

Re: state funding for education, I disagree that the legislature said CO has been paying too much. The legislature had to cut funding because tax receipts were down.
Don't think I mentioned anything about DCSD, sorry you got confused. I'm talking about across the board funding cut for education by the state legislature to balance the budget, as a reply to you talking about the state guaranteeing adequate and quality free public education in the state constitution. And obviously they still haven't met the hypothetical minimum funding required for adequate quality free education, hence their discretion for cutting. I'd be interested in seeing how standardized test scores are when we fund the schools less, whether or not we can do well with less. What do you think, K?
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:16 PM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,177 posts, read 58,353,146 times
Reputation: 19714
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonwalkr View Post
Don't think I mentioned anything about DCSD, sorry you got confused. I'm talking about across the board funding cut for education by the state legislature to balance the budget, as a reply to you talking about the state guaranteeing adequate and quality free public education in the state constitution. And obviously they still haven't met the hypothetical minimum funding required for adequate quality free education, hence their discretion for cutting. I'd be interested in seeing how standardized test scores are when we fund the schools less, whether or not we can do well with less. What do you think, K?
I think that since ~80% of school costs are in wages, salaries and benefits that if they cut too deeply they will have a hard time attracting and retaining decent teachers. I also think standardized test scores don't tell the whole story, as there is in general a direct line relationship between test scores and parental socio-economic status.

However, the topic of the thread is that Douglas Co. SD is going to charge for busing.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:21 AM
 
11 posts, read 14,952 times
Reputation: 14
I moved to Douglas County 5 years ago, and was told that our school district was excellent. Things have really slipped since then, and I decided to open enroll my kids in the Cherry Creek district (which I will be able to do until they are in middle school). I am amazed at the number of things that parents are expected to pay for. $150 per child for the PTO (mandatory), $76 for supplies for my 2nd grader (including things like Kleenex...really the school district can't afford Kleenex?), the one field trip they went on was $15, and there have been numerous fundraisers throughout the school year. My family can afford these things, but I am concerned about other families that may not be able to. It makes you wonder if public school will be fee based at some point in the future (it sounds crazy, but the notion of paying for class supplies and school bus' would have been crazy 30 years ago when I was in elementary school).
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