Lamar School Board conducts budget wo...

Lamar School Board conducts budget worksession - Lamar Ledger

There are 38 comments on the Lamar Ledger story from Apr 5, 2011, titled Lamar School Board conducts budget worksession - Lamar Ledger. In it, Lamar Ledger reports that:

State funding has not yet been released and the budget situation is still unsure, Lamar School District Superintendent Charles Soper told the Lamar School Board on April 4. Soper presented a proposed budget to the board, with potential cuts that included the possible closure of Lincoln Elementary School.

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Ian T Blacker

Grand Junction, CO

#1 Apr 5, 2011
I believe that the R.E. 2 superintendent and school board are making a fundamentally poor decision to move 6th grade to the middle school, if that decision goes ahead. This has been tried before and was an abject failure academically and with regard to the discipline of the students. 6th graders need to be in their own elementary environment for stronger academics. If the board makes this decision, I would predict that within one to two years, R.E 2 will be on academic probation.

I believe that I am correct to say that if the state reduces the school district budget, then the school district has the right to seek an increase in mill levy to counteract the shortfall in their budget at the next election period. This would not cost the average household very much to cover any state shortfall, and would keep the status quo.

I also want to know what other alternatives are being pursued? I recognize that finances must be taken care of, but I suspect that there are other options yet to have been thoroughly investigated.

What has been done by the board or administration to find out why so many students have left for other area schools over the past ten years? To my knowledge, little to nothing. Has the administration been proactive and contacted parents who have removed their children from R.E.2 to encourage their return?

How about cutting all staff and then re-hiring the many teachers and aids that do an outstanding job. This would get rid of those who are coasting to retirement or plain not working well for the students. Another possibility for the long term is to get rid of tenure, which few other employees in other industries get to enjoy.

Parents and public, please get involved in your child's education and the decisions for our children's educational future. If the proposed cuts go through, I suspect that we might be looking at 30-40 less staff at R.E.2, not the 24 mentioned by the superintendent. This could have dire long-term economic impact to the community-more homes for sale, house values falling and much more.
educator

Westcliffe, CO

#2 Apr 5, 2011
Ian T Blacker wrote:
I believe that the R.E. 2 superintendent and school board are making a fundamentally poor decision to move 6th grade to the middle school, if that decision goes ahead. This has been tried before and was an abject failure academically and with regard to the discipline of the students. 6th graders need to be in their own elementary environment for stronger academics. If the board makes this decision, I would predict that within one to two years, R.E 2 will be on academic probation.
I believe that I am correct to say that if the state reduces the school district budget, then the school district has the right to seek an increase in mill levy to counteract the shortfall in their budget at the next election period. This would not cost the average household very much to cover any state shortfall, and would keep the status quo.
I also want to know what other alternatives are being pursued? I recognize that finances must be taken care of, but I suspect that there are other options yet to have been thoroughly investigated.
What has been done by the board or administration to find out why so many students have left for other area schools over the past ten years? To my knowledge, little to nothing. Has the administration been proactive and contacted parents who have removed their children from R.E.2 to encourage their return?
How about cutting all staff and then re-hiring the many teachers and aids that do an outstanding job. This would get rid of those who are coasting to retirement or plain not working well for the students. Another possibility for the long term is to get rid of tenure, which few other employees in other industries get to enjoy.
Parents and public, please get involved in your child's education and the decisions for our children's educational future. If the proposed cuts go through, I suspect that we might be looking at 30-40 less staff at R.E.2, not the 24 mentioned by the superintendent. This could have dire long-term economic impact to the community-more homes for sale, house values falling and much more.
Ian,

You couldn't have voiced your opinion any better! We are encouraged not to voice our opinions online or to others, but what this district is looking at will directly affect my future, as well as many others.

I only pray and hope that parents will voice their concerns as well, as to what Mr. Soper has proposed to the board.

Please, parents and other educators; still teaching and those who have retired, make a stand for our kid's education.
antonio

Grand Junction, CO

#3 Apr 5, 2011
why are cuts and drastic measures only being looked at in the elementary? there are a lot of cuts that could be made at the middle and high school as well...we really need to look at priorities and not just making cuts because they are a first year teacher...we will lose a lot of great first and second year teachers in the elementary if the plan goes as scheduled.. very unfortunate for morale and for the students
Intentionally Obtuse

Grand Junction, CO

#4 Apr 5, 2011
I support taking a second look at tenure, not only in the schools, but in our hospital as well. I have trouble understanding why Hospitalists are granted tenure when Medical Doctors are not. Just because Hospitalists are cheaper, does not mean that they provide a greater quality of care to patients. I would rather see those who have obtained the education to become a medical doctor be granted tenure instead of Hospitalists, so that there is greater confidence in the treatment we receive when we go to the hospital.
Farm girl

Eads, CO

#5 Apr 5, 2011
IO, what do you consider to be a "hospitalist?" Why do you think they have tenure and doctors do not?
really

Alamosa, CO

#6 Apr 5, 2011
antonio wrote:
why are cuts and drastic measures only being looked at in the elementary? there are a lot of cuts that could be made at the middle and high school as well...we really need to look at priorities and not just making cuts because they are a first year teacher...we will lose a lot of great first and second year teachers in the elementary if the plan goes as scheduled.. very unfortunate for morale and for the students
I agree 100%. Why make all the cuts at the foundational level. Maybe they could put a window in their stomach. That way they wouldn't have to pull it out to see the light. Sorry...
Really, take a look at the quality of education given by each teacher. Replace the teachers that do a terrible job!! Simple. And in my opinion the first year teachers with BA degrees frequently out do the Masters Degree teachers at 60% the pay.
really

Alamosa, CO

#7 Apr 5, 2011
Sleeping in the tanning booth again?
Paul Roberts

Grand Junction, CO

#8 Apr 6, 2011
I don't know why you're complaining. This is the "limited government" that the Republican voters kept voting for and claiming they wanted. If you don't like these results, then stop electing state and federal officials that cause them.

By the way, the high school already reduced its staff by 2 last year. This is not only affecting elementary schools. It's across the board.
areader

Springfield, CO

#9 Apr 6, 2011
The state and federal legislators that most of the folks on this board voted into office have deliberately caused this mess. They throw out "tax cuts" to the gullible, and all along their true goal is to cut vital services (like public education) to the general public, while funnelling tax revenues to the super wealthy.(The strategy is called "killing the beast." Look it up.) All this happens right out in public, and Lamar's reaction is to attack the long term teachers who have devoted their lives and careers to your children? The mystery of why people remove their children from the district is solved, at any rate.
lol

Lamar, CO

#10 Apr 6, 2011
To bad there are no businesses that could come into town and provide large amounts of tax revenue for the city. Oh wait there were they passed ordinances making them illegal not just in the city but in the county as well to bad for our school system.
Ian T Blacker

Grand Junction, CO

#11 Apr 6, 2011
areader wrote:
The state and federal legislators that most of the folks on this board voted into office have deliberately caused this mess. They throw out "tax cuts" to the gullible, and all along their true goal is to cut vital services (like public education) to the general public, while funnelling tax revenues to the super wealthy.(The strategy is called "killing the beast." Look it up.) All this happens right out in public, and Lamar's reaction is to attack the long term teachers who have devoted their lives and careers to your children? The mystery of why people remove their children from the district is solved, at any rate.
In response to your opinion, I would like to raise some observations and questions for you to consider. The state and federal governments are fiscally broke-spending money that it does not have as income, thus the need to cut spending that is unfunded by taxes. This is I suspect what you would do at home if you were spending more than you earned at work. We seem to live in an entitled generation where "we the people" expect the government or others to provide what ever we think or have been erroneously taught that are our rights.

The government has outreached its constitutional mandate to represent the people and to apply the constitutional laws as written, and have created too many extra-governmental agencies with unaccountable power and authority. This is both a democratic and Republican problem with one party contributing much more to the problems than the other. The truth is that major fiscal cuts have to happen, and this is painful to every person and federal and state entities.

The States have amongst the highest spending levels on education of any "advanced" nation, yet have amongst the poorest of educational standard results as shown through various international test methodologies. There are, I believe several reasons for this sad situation, not necessarily in order of importance. First the NEA, which as a socialist/humanist organization, has an agenda that is I believe, counter to what most Americans believe in. Second lack of parental involvement in their children's education, and support for their teachers in the classroom, and third some teachers who coast through their jobs. Most of the teachers that I know are outstanding in investing in their students, and go way above and beyond what they are paid for.

I am willing to take whatever cuts are necessary in the short term to gain long-term benefits-ulitmatley less in taxes as costs are reduced. I am praying that more jobs are created and that all of "we the people" get involved in dynamic business growth for all of southeast Colorado, the state and nation. Secondly, get involved in supporting our educators in every way possible, attend school board meeting and ask honest questions respectfully. Third attend city council and county commissioner meetings, respectfully ask questions as needed, and actively support their efforts to positively impact your community.

Ask the question: what can I do to encourage those decision makers to do their best for our community.
areader

Springfield, CO

#12 Apr 6, 2011
I'm a little unclear about how firing every school employee in order to weed out those few who may be "coasting" equates to support for classroom teachers. Seems like a blanket attack on all local educators to me.

Incidentally, the nation with the highest "of educational standard results as shown through various international test methodologies" is Finland--a country with the world's most powerful teacher union and without mandatory standardized testing.
Ian T Blacker

Grand Junction, CO

#13 Apr 6, 2011
I have been thinking some more about the R.E.2 budget situation, and have some further observations and questions.

I have only read of staff cuts at the elementary level. Is it not only fiscally honest and responsible to have everything and every position open to cuts, from administration to cleaner, bus drivers and coaches, to sports programs. Why only single out one of many viable options-short-sighted perhaps?

It would seem totally unpragmatic to close Lincoln as I suspect it would save R.E.2 little to nothing due to having to run all utilities, busses etc, for the few who will attend what ever is placed there.

Is the school board listening to their administrators over their potential concerns? I have not talked to Mr Tecklenburg, but I seriously doubt he is happy about the proposals to bring 6th grade to the middle school, let alone his staff!

Has the superintendent or board members contacted the CDE to ascertain whether tenured staff can be released instead of just culling the freshman and second year teachers, because the budget cut is state mandated?

People, please start asking prudent questions of the superintendent and board, always with respect and integrity. Keep your emotions in check and your words gracious, bring well researched facts to the table, and be willing to offer your help not just with this crisis, but down the road when the rubber hits it.
FORMER EDUCATOR

Lamar, CO

#14 Apr 6, 2011
Mr. Blacker your thoughts on this situation hit the nail on the head. I hope you take these comments and go and talk with Mr. Soper and Mr. Peterson and the rest of the board. I commend you for putting your name on here and speaking up for us. I cannot do that as we are told not to voice our opinions, concerns, and ideas on any blog or with the public. It will be held against us!

Again, thank you Mr. Blacker!
Paul Roberts

Springfield, CO

#15 Apr 6, 2011
Ian wrote, "The government has outreached its constitutional mandate to represent the people and to apply the constitutional laws as written, and have created too many extra-governmental agencies with unaccountable power and authority. This is both a democratic and Republican problem with one party contributing much more to the problems than the other. The truth is that major fiscal cuts have to happen, and this is painful to every person and federal and state entities."

The TRUTH is that you cannot cut taxes a la Douglas Bruce or the Republican Party and not expect consequences. Couple that with a nation-wide recession, and these are the results.

It is sadly ironic that a nation that was birthed in a tax rebellion will ultimately die because of tax rebellion.
sad

Lamar, CO

#16 Apr 6, 2011
This news is all extremely depressing! Our poor little community is not only dying on main street, but in the classrooms as well!

Wow, I would not want to be a board member right now; good luck and I hope every leaf is overturned and every possible idea is looked at, before making a final decision.

Why is it that only the elementary level is looking at taking the biggest hit?
Interesting

Grand Junction, CO

#17 Apr 6, 2011
Mr. Blacker I am curious about how you believe the NEA has contributed to the current situation as it relates to our schools?
Lamar utilities customer

La Veta, CO

#18 Apr 6, 2011
Paul Roberts wrote:
Ian wrote, "The government has outreached its constitutional mandate to represent the people and to apply the constitutional laws as written, and have created too many extra-governmental agencies with unaccountable power and authority. This is both a democratic and Republican problem with one party contributing much more to the problems than the other. The truth is that major fiscal cuts have to happen, and this is painful to every person and federal and state entities."
The TRUTH is that you cannot cut taxes a la Douglas Bruce or the Republican Party and not expect consequences. Couple that with a nation-wide recession, and these are the results.
It is sadly ironic that a nation that was birthed in a tax rebellion will ultimately die because of tax rebellion.
Last I knew we had 2 Democrat Senators and a Democrat Governor in Colorado. This problem escalated with the Obama election and a majority of Democrats and a Democrat President couldn't even pass a budget. THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING! You need to listen to Ian Blacker. He actually has legitimate concerns about "Lamar"!!
Paul Roberts

Grand Junction, CO

#19 Apr 6, 2011
This problem did not begin yesterday. This problem began thirty years ago when your St. Ronald Reagan dropped tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. The problem escalated when George W. Bush decided to out-Reagan Reagan and dropped them even lower. It was exacerbated by NAFTA and other free trade agreements passed during the Clinton administration with the help of a Republican Congress.
Part of the problem is that Americans don't remember past yesterday and can't see much farther than an hour or two. Try to look at the big picture. This is a systemic problem, which explains why it is affecting schools and other institutions in ALL states and not just Colorado.
I, too, care about Lamar and this country, and I fear for the future of both, as the rich get richer and the poor have less education, fewer jobs, and less of a chance of getting ahead.
But you and Mr. Blacker go right on believing the propaganda. I especially loved how he called the NEA a "socialist / humanist" organization. Keep helping that wealthiest 1% to keep their precious money. Meanwhile, Lamar and towns like it are going to pay the price.
Just a Thought

Greeley, CO

#20 Apr 6, 2011
This is a horrible issue. Personally, I believe education should be the very last resort. Economic times are hard, but does anybody realize where Colorado ranks out of all states for funding for P-12 education. It is 50th. Colorado's system to fund schools is setting the state up for failure. Smaller districts especially cannot rely on Property tax to fund school districts. Districts are incurring costs that many other states have funding for. Maybe, the focus is not all on the district level (although, some should be), but the congressmen and governor who push for the budget. Maybe they should stop bandaging the budget for education. They need to look at other options for funding and do surgery. If the state had a strong system (one that would not change yearly based on taxes or location), Colorado would gain so much. Even if Lincoln School can stay open, how much longer? According to the TABOR laws, the school district can only raise the mill levy so much.

This may be an outrageous suggestion, but I will say it anyways. The school spends a lot of money on field trips and other activities like that. What if funding for those was eliminated. That would save the cost for buses, bus drivers, meals, costs of the visitation, etc. Instead, I believe many great citizens of Lamar would support a child's education. Ask for donations for a field trip. Plan after school programs where students could volunteer their time with a supervisor at a local business to raise money.

Also, introduce students to volunteer work. Encourage a program where students would spend an hour after school every month to clean garbage up on their campus. Would that eliminate some hours of janitors and other personnel? I would just love for the school board to become creative so it is not just another bandage on the problem.

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