What message are you sending if you de-fund Jeffco’s 2017 Teacher of the Year Finalist’s program? – Feb 3, 2017


   What message are you sending to teachers, students, parents and the community if you cut the position of one of the best teachers in the district, Lisa Lee? She is a finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year (https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeawards/teacheroftheyear_finalists).
   It’s my understanding that the entire purpose of the budget reduction recommendations is to keep teachers, not get rid of the best ones. Yet Terry Elliott’s Phase 1B recommendation to eliminate 2 GT teachers does just that.
   His canned, cavalier and cop-out response is that he was a former GT principal and that all other GT programs in the district are funded by the schools. But that is not true — the Jeffco High School GT Program at Wheat Ridge is a DISTRICT program, not a school center. And by eliminating these two teachers, he is effectively shuttering a program that benefits every GT high school student in Jeffco. Since Terry has turned down repeated invitations and has never visited the program, his response shows his complete ignorance as to how the the HS GT program is different from all of the ES/MS GT programs in the district. I’ve had kids go through Jeffco’s ES and MS GT programs, which were nothing more than learning at an advanced rate or level. They did not provide the social, emotional and life support that my two twice exceptional kids need and receive(d) from the HS GT program at Wheat Ridge. To Terry Elliott, the two GT teachers and the widely recognized program that they run are nothing more than a budget line item. That makes me truly question if the administration of the district really cares about students.
   If you de-fund these two positions, you will put the principal of Wheat Ridge into a position he shouldn’t be put in. He is essentially housing a District program that he accepted, but didn’t ask for, that requires more resources to successfully run than the standard funding ‘formula’. You will be putting the burden of supporting a DISTRICT program onto a principal of one school, with his own competing demands and 1,000 other students to consider.
   If you de-fund these positions, the message that I and everyone else will hear is that quality education and the needs of our kids just don’t matter in Jeffco!
   Are you going to be able to explain that?
   You need to seriously reconsider this recommendation. Lisa Lee and Elliott Holm run a unique, invaluable and highly successful, growing program that is the ONLY GT option for high school students in the District (just ask the kids!). The presence of the District’s HS GT program at Wheat Ridge saves lives, helps students finish school and enhances Jeffco’s reputation both locally and nationally.
   I’m sure you can find more appropriate, less vital places to cut under $200k, without sending the message that quality in education doesn’t matter.
Bob Greenawalt