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Publish Date: 5/7/2005

Teachers support mill-levy override
By Paula Aven Gladych


LONGMONT — The St. Vrain Valley Education Association will support the school district’s push for a mill-levy override in November.

At an all-day St. Vrain Valley Board of Education retreat Friday, association President Jerri Modrall read a statement approved by its board of directors.

“SVVEA supports and will vigorously promote the passage of a mill-levy override, which provides for recovery of wages lost during the St. Vrain Valley School District financial crisis, which began in 2002,” she said.

In her statement, Modrall said her organization “understands fully the need for the passage of a mill-levy override for the long-term health and success of the district. However, the school board must keep as a priority the wages which were sacrificed for the good of the district and focus on the recovery of those wages. It is the fair and just thing to do.”

All district employees took a 7.125 percent pay cut in November 2002, following the discovery of the district’s $13.9 million deficit.

School board President Sandi Searls assured Modrall that recovery of lost wages continues to be a top priority of the school district.

The Mill Levy Override Community Review Committee gave the board a general list of priorities it believes should be included in the next mill-levy override push.

A $15.47 million override measure was voted down by a razor-thin margin in the November 2004 election.

The school board has charged the committee with finding out what priorities are most important to the school district’s constituents.

The committee, which has been meeting since March, is made up of teachers, classified employees, principals, a retiree, business leaders and parent/community representatives from every high school feeder system.

A parent representative of the committee told the school board that the group believes a mill-levy override is necessary because “the current funding allotted by the state for education is not meeting the needs of our students and teachers.”

The committee discussed and ranked items that were on the school district’s wish list for the last mill-levy override. Employee compensation, opening new schools, buying new textbooks, decreasing student/teacher ratios and reducing class sizes in grades K-3 were the committee’s top priorities.

The group will not come up with a final proposal, complete with dollar figures, until after it meets with various business groups, community members, teachers and district staff over the next two weeks.

It also is discussing the possibility of two separate ballot measures, one with a sunset clause and the other for items, such as compensation, that require long-term funding.

Let’s talk

The St. Vrain Valley Mill Levy Override Community Review Committee has planned four public meetings to discuss a possible mill-levy override ballot initiative in November. The meetings are scheduled for:

• May 10, 6:30 p.m.: Coal Ridge Middle School, 6201 Booth Drive in Firestone.

• May 14, 10 a.m.: Coal Ridge Middle School.

• May 14, 10 a.m.: Educational Services Center Board Room, 395 S. Pratt Parkway in Longmont

• May 16, 6:30 p.m.: Educational Services Center Board Room.

Paula Aven Gladych can be reached at 303-684-5211, or by e-mail at pavengladych@times-call.com.

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