LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – The state of Colorado’s largest school district on Friday announced that they will be closing two schools, laying off employees and cutting back on salaries as part of $40 million in cuts.

“During difficult times you have to make difficult decisions and hopefully kids will learn to understand you do things that you don’t want to do,” said Jefferson County School Board President Dave Thomas.

“We might feel the effects of this for years to come,” said PTA member Michelle Winzent.

In a news release sent out by Jeffco Public Schools officials the following cuts were listed:

– 3 percent loss of compensation for all employees, resulting in a four-work-day reduction and two student-contact furlough days
– Closure of Martensen Elementary School and Zerger Elementary School
– Loss of 212 jobs throughout the district, including teachers, administrators and support staff.
– Moving Long View High School staff and students to McLain High School
– Higher athletic fees
– Transportation fees, including a $150 charge for students to ride the bus
– The suspension of the outdoor lab experience for Jeffco sixth-graders at Mt. Evans and Windy Peak

The announcement of the cuts follow several public meetings where county officials outlined just how bad the budget situation has become.

classroom school JeffCo To Close 2 Schools As Part Of Large Spending Cuts

Jefferson County will close schools because of a $40M shortfall. (credit: CBS)

“We recognize that some of these recommendations will be difficult for our community, but they are the right decisions during tough economic times,” said Thomas.

Moms with the Parent Teachers Association said they’ve been bracing for cuts. They worry how families with several children will afford to pay for the bus. They also worry how schools with fewer teachers will stay competitive.

“The biggest impact on the kids is going to be the larger class sizes,” said parent Virginia Zimmerman.

“Everyone is expecting students to do better, excel better, how are they going to get them the resources to do that if we’re cutting teachers,” said parent Lindsay Woltz.

“Our staff is absorbing the brunt of the reductions with the loss of jobs and the loss of compensation in order to have the least impact on our students and the quality of education they are receiving,” Superintendent Dr. Cindy Stevenson said.

The district worked with groups representing teachers, staff and administrators to decide on the cuts. The budget still needs to be approved by the school board.

The district is just one of many across the state which is in emergency mode since Gov. John Hickenlooper came out with his proposal for eliminating some K-12 education funding in the state budget. Hickenlooper has proposed cutting $332 million from schools statewide in the next school year to balance the budget. That follows $260 million in cuts this year.

Link: Jeffco Public Schools

Link: Outdoor Education Laboratory Schools

Comments (16)
  1. Chester Bullock says:

    I looked on the JeffCo website and cannot find salary info for the executive team there. I would be curious to see this info.

  2. Cindy says:

    so why don’t we attack the very young and the very old, after all they can’t fight back can they?

  3. me says:

    “If they won’t give us more money we’ll make the cuts where it hurts them the most”. Where it would hurt us the least is if they cleaned house on the top-heavy overpaid admin staff and started from scratch.

  4. druid0621 says:

    Boo-hoo. Cry me a river. We all have to cut back until the economy gets back on track. As a nation, we already spend more per child than any country in the world, with lousy results. Throwing more money at a problem doesn’t fix the problem – it just makes it more expensive. And as far as being 49th in funding education is concerned – that just means we aren’t wasting as much money as other states. That is a good thing. Still, I would rather see cuts in Medicaid and Food Stamps, where there is even more waste, fraud and abuse.

  5. Ken says:

    Just like all goverment agencies in this country there needs to be some huge fat cuts starting at the very top! I propose getting rid of ALL administration. Let each school operate on their own. Within their own budget. Just like private/Parochial schools do. And who I might add usualy do a lot better job teaching our kids.

  6. CLO says:

    Where is our concern for the end product, our children, our next generation? If we do not educate our next generation NOW, when will they be educated and what kiind of education will they receive? I can only see a lack of qualified future leaders in a society that needs the best, not a lack of it. Will we see more uneducated youth gleaning money from crime and then being housed in our already overcrowded jails and prisons where there is already a lack of education to rehabilitate the prisoners, releasing them to the same kind of activities that put them there in the first place? Will there be more and more fear of gangs running the streets? Those of you in top administrative positions should tighten your own financial belts and align your salaries to a level that would enable us to continue the education that our next generation so desperately needs! Explore more options, such as home schooling through computers [as many now do for college], substancially reducing the need for school buildings, heating, cooling, maintenance, upkeep in general. Teachers could still handle their same student load, but through computer work. I am not an educator, but have a deep seated belief in the fact that we do need to put the students first, not after buildings and teachers.Unfortunately, I know that many who read this will say “I have heard this all before”, but when do we stop just saying that and really DO SOMETHING about it?

  7. Carol says:

    Cut the salaries of the high up government workers, leave the education and schools of the children alone. It seems like the children always suffer because of budget cuts. It’s not right. The schools are just barely meeting some standards as it is. Why shortchange the kids??

  8. Mikee says:

    Immediate 10% pay cut for ALL administrators. Force retirement for all teachers over 22yrs in the classroom. Bring in some new young teachers with fresh ideas. Besides, three new teachers will cover the salary of one old out of date teacher. It is trading three teachers for one. Sell advertisement space for buses and stadiums. Go Green! There is a lot of waste of paper in schools. Have teachers and staff clean the building. No more traveling for JV sports. Last but not least, find a new board of education and a superintendent!

  9. Ryan says:

    I have no problem with “good” teachers making $70K+ per year. problem is the system is overloaded with administrators and “bad” teachers that the district can’t get rid of because of the union contract.

  10. Michael says:

    Private business takes advantage of the Government because the Government does NOT know how to manage money. Here is the perfect example. Fire the 10 people between the principals and the superintendent and that will save plenty of money. Too much administration. Leave the Outdoor Lab experience alone, that is the one thing that everyone enjoys and learns from. Shame on Jeffco, most would never survive if they really had to work.

  11. julie h says:

    I have never seen such commitment and hard work. I cannot believe people don’t get how hard teachers work. They are kind and caring individuals who you do want to leave your child in the care of. People who write mean comments do not understand any of this and I doubt they have children. If they do, they send them to private schools. Jefferson County Schools provided me the education I needed to be successful in life. I loved all of my teachers and I was well-cared for when I was at school. Our community always cared about building a safe, caring and high functioning system around me, and all of our children. If we cut and cut funding to public schools – you must consider the consequences. It is not simple and simple minds should not be involved in teh discussions. Equal access to education gives everyone a fair chance in life. If you ruin equal access, you ruin chances. You ruin optimism … and I guarantee you, you will see civilized society slip from our hands. We must unite, treat each other well and fund schools knowing that it is for the good of all.

  12. Lcwoltz says:

    I am one of the parents and Jeffco PTA Board members quoted in this article. I am so saddened by some of the comments on here. I volunteer much of my day everyday to giving back to my local school and community by volunteering and it’s never enough. Papers always need grading, books always needing to be reshelved in the library, trash cans need emptying, tabled needing to be wiped down, kids always needing additional help in comprehension of their curriculum, recesses needing to be monitored, and less we forget 7 hours of teaching. I suggest you spend a day in a school that also aids in the education of special needs and autistic children in addition to the regular 400 students it serve. You watch the staff and Principal care for these kids who suffer from these syndromes. And while they are forcibly having to carry this uncooperative child back to their class kicking, scratching and screaming at them, you can tell then they are paid too much.

    I also remind you that someone paid for your education as a child and adolescent. Public or private school…someone paid for you to learn your 1, 2, 3s and your A B C’s. They paid for you to learn how to spell, to write and to type your inconsiderate and selfish comments I read here tonight.

  13. Kevin says:

    Maybe the Jeffco school administration could save a ton of money by moving out of their plush accommodations by the Denver West office park and into one of the schools they are closing. Let’s make some real sacrifices.

  14. Random says:

    I go to one of the schools that isclosing it was a very hard thingtogo through everybody was crying and everybody hadto be split up i think its very sad to go through it and with new teachers there gonna get laid off how sad 😦

  15. Reanna says:

    these horribale budgt cuts left 5th graders soon to become 6th graders crying the world is so cruel. ;(

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