It’s been two years since we started preparing for our 2008 MLO/Bond Campaign in the St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD). Your ongoing efforts led to the success of those initiatives and subsequent upgrades in the St. Vrain Valley schools. Class sizes were reduced, teacher positions were restored, program choices and rigor have been maintained, curriculum has been updated, building maintenance has improved, technology investments have increased, two new schools are under construction and many more are receiving construction upgrades. The grassroots efforts of SVVSD community members not only put our district on solid financial ground – it allowed us to become one of the strongest and most competitive districts on the Front Range.
What we didn’t know in 2008 was the depth of the looming economic crisis. Since 2008, State revenue has decreased significantly leading to deep cuts in education funding. Essentially, two-thirds of what we achieved through our MLO Initiative in 2008 has been negated by the State as a result of their budget cuts.
SVVSD has been able to maintain our education standards despite the State cuts in funding. However, with $260 million in education funding cuts statewide for 2010 and more coming for 2011 – we are very concerned that SVVSD will not be able to sustain the level of education our children deserve. And we are not overreacting. Already, school districts in Colorado are reporting layoffs, increasing class sizes, cutting programs, closing buildings, and moving to 4-day school weeks. Further, there is pending State legislation that will add more unfunded mandates to school districts. There are also initiatives that will be on the November ballot that could further decrease education funding. All of this directly affects our district, our schools and our children.
As part of our 2008 Grassroots effort, we know you are a community member who care about education. It makes sense to consider what is happening at the State level and understand how that will significantly impact our children – soon. To that end, the Grassroots Committee will be providing periodic updates to keep you informed about education initiatives and funding at the State level.
Here is a place to start: What kind of Colorado do we want?
The State Legislature knows Colorado citizens have historically been quiet about cuts in education funding. This has made it politically ‘easy’ for legislators to take money from education and tell us to be more efficient. We think it’s time to stop that trend by staying informed about State education issues and encouraging our elected officials to support our children.