Adams 12 Five Star School District Superintendent Chris Gdowski says he has consulted the community, parents and staff in creating his plan to cut the district's budget by $30 million, eliminating 185 full-time positions. He says state budget conditions are the reason for the cuts.
"You know that you're affecting a whole lot of students' lives, and a whole lot of adult lives in terms of their employment, there's just a lot of families we're affecting by these decisions," Gdowski said. "It's tough, haven't slept a lot lately. Not a lot of sleep at night."
The district says the cuts will be on top of the $38 million the district has cut from the budget over the past five years. Gdowski says including the proposed job cuts, the district will have cut 375 full-time positions in the past two years.
Class sizes are expected to grow while a number of afterschool activities and clubs are expected to decrease, according to the district. Gdowski says the plan will be updated based on the negotiations between two employee associations with the district and the ultimate decision on the School Finance Act from the Colorado Legislature.
A group that lobbies for increased education funding organized a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to "mourn the loss" of funds.
"You know you're supposed to give individual attention, but if I have 35 kids in a class, I can't get to every single kid," teacher Ashley Kidder said.
While many consider this a huge blow, 9NEWS also talked to some parents who say pouring money into the schools does not always translate to better performance.
"In Adams County, two thirds of our budget from property taxes actually goes toward education and we seem to continually put more money into education, and no one is asking the tough question which is, 'What are we getting for that investment?'" parent Joe Hein said.
"Even if we had the same budget as last year, our test scores are not improving based on the money we pour in. Our graduation rates are not improving," Patti Sue Femrite said.
Hein and Femrite argue it's not money, but innovation, starting with creative parents, that will ultimately bring change.
"We need to start trying something different in our district such as vouchers or charter schools," Femrite said.
Almost 42,000 students from Broomfield, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster attend Adams 12 schools.
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