Thanks to the support of state legislators who provided additional funding for education (projected to be almost $12 million annually for our district), and local voters who passed a $27 million mill levy override (Ballot Issue 5C) in November 2018, Adams 12 Five Star Schools will make the most significant investment in our schools in more than a decade.
My proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year boosts compensation for our teachers and support staff to remain competitive with our peer school districts; provides class size relief and increases high school course options; and supports the diverse learning needs of our students. All of these investments align with what thousands in our community told us they valued during our process to develop the district’s new strategic plan – ELEVATE.
In early May we reached tentative agreement with our teachers’ association on all elements of a compensation package that positions the Five Star District to remain competitive in recruiting and retaining the very best teachers. The most significant area where we currently lag our peers is for our early career educators. Our new compensation package moves the starting salary for teachers to $44,000, while also increasing compensation across all experience levels.
As part of my proposed 2019-2020 budget, we will hire more than 150 employees in support of investments our community prioritized through ELEVATE and the passage of 5C. One of the most significant areas of investment is in class size relief and the expansion of course options at the secondary level. We are hiring more than 50 teachers for next school year to address class sizes that are above target levels in elementary schools and to provide class size relief and/or more course options aligned to specific school needs at the middle and high school levels.
In support of the diverse learning needs of our students, we are adding academic interventionists at our elementary and K-8 schools. These interventionists will work directly with students in accelerating their learning in literacy and math. We are also hiring a district academic intervention coordinator to support consistent and ongoing professional learning for all school-based academic interventionists.
Another focus area of ELEVATE is social-emotional learning. Beginning next year, we will add social emotional learning specialists in all of our elementary, middle and K-8 schools. This is a new position that will support student growth in social-emotional competencies. In addition to working with school staff on the planning and delivery of our social-emotional curriculum, these specialists will work with students individually, in small groups and across all classrooms. At the high school level, we will provide additional counselors to better support the individual needs of our students.
Additional Priority Investments
Beyond the investments outlined in 5C, my proposed budget calls for additional staffing to support our students in special education and our emerging bilinguals. Additionally, during the past decade as we went through the Great Recession and made significant budget cuts, some of the hardest hit areas were in the support services that our district departments provide schools. We are adding additional dollars to our information technology and facility operations budgets so we can we can appropriately maintain the investments we’re making through 5C and the 2016 Bond.
The Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board of Education is scheduled to adopt the budget at its regular meeting on June 19, 2019.
Thank you for your partnership in fostering student success in the Five Star District. We would not be in a position of celebrating gains in academic achievement and growth without the support of our parents and community.