By chance, it might make us feel better
You may wonder why you should read a story from Jefferson County, Colorado. Well, I don't live in Jefferson County either, but I do live in a school district in Colorado. You may also wonder why you should read this story if you don't live in Colorado at all. Well, let me tell you. If this is happening in one school district, it's happening in many, many more. I think these things are going on in many school districts around the country. The school boards talk about transparency, but sure don't know how to be transparent.
The Board of Education in Jefferson County, Colorado sure doesn't like Regan Benson trying to keep them honest. Her diligence in trying to find out what her county school district is spending tax payer money on is sure pissing them off. They make things difficult for her and her kids in any way they can. I can't even list the number of things various school district employees have said and done to her and her family. I like her because she's still speaking up. Regan's dedicated to making sure that when her school district makes excuses for the poor education the kids are getting because the district doesn't get enough money, that they're telling the truth; and they don't like it. The JeffCo school board does everything they can to make it difficult for Regan to attend public meetings. They want her to stop talking. After meeting her, and reading her articles, I'm sure she's not going to stop making them accountable for the taxpayer money they receive.
Now, here's the reason I think you should read Regan's article. It may help you find a way to check on your own school board in your local area. You may realize there are real problems where you're kids go to school and no one's speaking up about it. Well it's time for all of us to check out our districts and make sure our kids are getting the best education possible. If they're not, speak up about it. These bloated government agencies count on us being silent, but if moms don't speak up, who will.
Here's some of what Regan found in her school district:
[...]The Jeffco School Board along with the superintendent, were being led by a facilitator from the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB). Prior to this meeting on March 23rd, this same facilitator met with the board in the same capacity for a total of 2.5 hours in November and December 2011. The school district, by way of the taxpayers has paid CASB $3016.90 for the 2.5 hours of this particular facilitator to provide, talk. The hourly conversion rate is in fact $1,206.76 for every hour of talk provided by this facilitator. There is no known reason to the general public as to the necessity for these services or who was responsible for coordinating such.
[...]Jeffco R1 financial transparency reflection of recent expenses paid to CASB:
- Legal Fees/Financial Support to CASB (these dollars are being used directly by CASB to fund the Lobato lawsuit which equates to taxpayer dollars being used to sue taxpayers into providing additional funding for public schools in Colorado)- $84,933.00
- Annual Fees for district membership to CASB - $28,613.00
- Consulting Services- $9,975
- CASB Conference Tickets- $3560.00
- CASB fall conference registration- $2090.00
- Annual Fees for district membership to CASB- $27,792.00The day was full of "chalk talk" on March 23rd. One might expect that if the general public were welcome at these public meetings, hearing the majority of talk by the five member board would be a compliment to good public service. However, it is often the case that the majority of time board members talk in their public study sessions, they do not use microphones and indicate fear of the general public actually being able to hear what is being talked about.
And that's just a drop in the bucket. Regan has done some great research and there's plenty of apparent chicanery and non-transparency going on out there in JeffCo. How much is going on in your school district?
Check out the rest of Regan's article here.