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School board approves 2014-15 budget

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Spending plan boosts funding for charter schools, includes raises for teachers

By Daniel Laverty

The Jeffco school board voted 3-2 last Thursday to approve the district’s 2014-15 budget — a $1 billion spending plan that increases teachers’ salaries and funding for charter schools.

Teachers, who have not had a pay increase in four years, will benefit from the $4.8 million earmarked for salary increases, which will equate to an average 2.5 percent raise per teacher.

The budget allocates $5.5 million to help equalize funding for charter schools — roughly an $874 increase per student. The board had originally earmarked $3.7 million to equalize charter school funding, but voted 3-2 to raise the amount at last Thursday’s meeting. 

Thanks to an improved economy, Jeffco Public Schools will see a $29 million increase in funding from the state for the 2014-15 school year. State per-pupil funding will increase to $6,842 compared to $6,482 the previous year. 

Board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams voted to approve the budget; Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman voted no, saying they opposed the additional increase for charter schools.

The largest portion of the $1 billion budget is the general fund. The nearly $650 million fund pays for the district’s daily operations — materials, supplies, maintenance and employee compensation. Eighty percent of the general fund — $520 million — goes to employee compensation.

The general fund mostly comes from Jeffco property taxes — $298 million — and state funding — $320 million. The property-tax levy is 50.368 mills and costs the owner of a $200,000 home $802 annually.

Jeffco Public Schools is the second largest district in the state. The district serves more than 85,000 students and has more than 14,000 employees. It is the largest employer in Jefferson County.

For more information, visit www.jeffcopublicschools.org.

Contact Daniel Laverty at 303-350-1042.