Amendment 39 Please Vote “No”

Дата канвертавання27.04.2016
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Amendment 39

Please Vote “No”
To the editor:

I urge voters to vote “no” on Amendment 39. The amendment, should it pass, will require each school district to expend 65 percent of its operational expenditures on classroom instruction. This, at first glance, might seem like a reasonable and worthwhile goal, but it is fraught with problems.

That’s why numerous educators along with school boards, law enforcement agencies and county commissioners oppose this amendment. It’s why the amendment is opposed by the Colorado Association of School Boards, the Colorado Education Association, the Colorado Association of School Executives, and the Denver Area School Superintendents Council, organizations that have been seeking adequate classroom funding for years.
Here are some of the reasons to vote no on Amendment 39:

  1. Local school boards, with community input, should decide how educational funds are to be spent by their school district with consideration of the right balance among instruction, safety, accountability, efficient management, and community services. The balance is not the same for districts across Colorado. A constitutional amendment greatly hampers local decisions about school expenditures.

  1. Amendment 39 excludes critical services for the safety, well-being and health of students including nurses, guidance counselors, security staff and principals who are essential for safe, well-run schools. While high student achievement is absolutely a mandate for public education, so too is safety and accountability along with food services and transportation – all of which may be greatly limited if the amendment passes.

  1. At the very time school districts across Colorado are examining safety plans and seeking to increase safety services, Amendment 39 creates barriers. Proponents argue that safety is not hampered by Amendment 39 because capital construction and equipment are excluded from the formula. They are so wrong! Safety is grounded in people – and people are funded with operational funds.

  1. Districts will not receive additional funding if this amendment passes. Rather, services outside of the limited window created by Amendment 39 will need to be reduced or eliminated.

I can’t address the specific implications for all districts across Colorado, although I do know, (from information supplied by the Colorado Department of Education), that almost all districts will be forced to reduce valuable, and perhaps essential, services if Amendment 39 passes.

I can share Platte Canyon’s 2006-2007 General Fund operating budget (see Table below) that shows 55.4% currently is allocated for instruction. Adding enterprise funds, including Food Services and the swimming pool fund approved by Platte Canyon taxpayers in the last election, reduces our instructional percent further.
Is it reasonable to reduce already limited support services to meet the 65% mandate? In Platte Canyon the answer is “no.” Amendment 39 will not improve instruction. Without educational support; without safety and health services, without efficient management and accountability, instruction and achievement will not thrive. Public education today requires a mission of “educational excellence in safe schools” and services to fulfill expectations of (1) safe schools with positive environments, (2) high student achievement, (3) positive community-school relationships, and (4) efficient and effective management. Please vote “NO” on “39.”


Health and Safety Functions



Instruction (Amendment 39)




Teachers/Aides/Activities/Art/Music, materials, library



Transportation Services

Safe transport of students



School Administration

School safety & crisis plan/implement



Custodial Services

Safety inspections, sanitation



Utilities (natural gas & electricity)




Technology Support

Phone system, emergency radios



Communications, networks, computer maintenance



alarm systems, software licenses, phone costs




Maintenance Services

Safe facilities



Facility & grounds maintenance & repair;

water testing-lead, nitrates, bacteria



electrical, HVAC, water & waste-water systems

snow & ice removal



Counseling and Guidance

Mental Health



Scheduling, college & career guidance, counseling

bully prevention, conflict resolution



District Administration

Safety & crisis plan & implement



Business Support




Fiscal accountability, budgeting, billing, purchasing, pay




General Support Services




Office machines, copying, printing, advertising, postage




Security Services (New)

Security - grounds



Health Services

Immunizations, medications



Student health - immunizations, vision/hearing screen

medically fragile students



medications, accident response

Accident Response, Illnesses



Staff Development

Safety training - e.g. bullying



Improvement of Instruction

prevention, safety plans, crisis plans



Board of Education (Elected Governing Body)

Establish safety priority



Policies, budget, mill levy, appoint superintendent

Establish safety policies



includes audit, election & legal fees




Psychological Services




Required Special Ed. Service




Special Education Administration




Clerical Services, cost tracking, service contracts

Services for medically fragile students



Staff Services




Employment, staff records, staff insurance & benefits

Background checks



Community Services




Community Voice, notices, website




Total General Fund




This letter has been prepared on my own time without the use of Platte Canyon School District resources and represents my view of the negative impact that Amendment 39 will have on Colorado schools and Platte Canyon in particular.

Jim Walpole, Ed. D.


Platte Canyon School District

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