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Letter to the editor

Letter: Criticism misses key points


I was disappointed in Mr. Coyne's personal assessment of the Jeffco School Board. It misses and mischaracterizes several key facts and issues.  

The district commitment for teacher pay increases has nothing to do with Union "demands." The increases are based on factual analysis of the competitive marketplace - specifically what does it take to compete for and maintain essential talent. The board has stated this repeatedly. In 2011, a Jeffco teacher with 10 years of experience and a Masters degree earned just over $52,000. Today the same teacher earns less than $50,000 - a 5 percent drop! During the same period of time, the cost of living increase has been almost 18 percent. Note that teachers with the same qualifications earn $57,000 in Denver, $60,000 in Cherry Creek and $75,000 in Boulder. 

Mr. Coyne asserts that "management" had proposed eliminating important services and closing five schools, but failed to note that these proposals were devised and introduced to the board and the public by Superintendent McMinimee after which our board members exercised their responsibility by carefully analyzing, dissecting and pushing back on a number of the proposals. As a result of their work, all of the cuts to reading interventionists, resource teachers, programs, are being deferred. Only one school will be closed.

Finally, comparing a nonprofit public entity to a "billion-dollar" private sector company is nonsense. Our school district's "business" is to educate children, not to maximize revenues.  Public schools are subject to mountains of conflicting stakeholder input and daunting regulations. I appreciate our board, administrators and teachers for delivering substantial success in this environment as evidenced by 25 Jeffco Schools recently receiving the prestigious John Irwin Award for excellent academic achievement. This represents 15 percent of all Colorado Schools in 178 school districts receiving this award. Good work!

Gretchen Winters,



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