The Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education voted unanimously to seek a mill levy override in the upcoming November election.
During discussion at a special meeting on July 26 board of education members said the district has been dealing with budget cuts for the past five years and it has come to the point where the district needs to take some action. The district has cut approximately $11 million from its budget over the past five years. An MLO is something that the district has talked about for years and with fees going up, the implementation of a bus fee and cuts to many programs the time to ask for an MLO has come.
The district is one of the top in the state having been named to the Advanced Placement Honor Roll three years in a row, is Accredited with Distinction and more than 85 percent of students go on to post-secondary education. But with cuts to programs and teachers and class size going up there is concern that students will not be afforded what former students have had.
D-38 Superintendent John Borman and the board of education have spent the past year sharing their story with the community and Borman often shares a story of a student who struggled in his early educational years and was on an Individualized Education Program. But because of the programs D-38 offered and the exceptional teaching staff he graduated valedictorian and is now in medical school.
“In order to do right by our kids we need help from our community,” Borman said.
D-38 board member Mark Pfoff said that the district has tried their best to maintain their budget and still provide the level of education to the students that the district is known for.
“We're not known for providing an education. We're known for providing an exceptional education to our kids,” D-38 board member Mark Pfoff said. “At this point, in going through this, we feel because of these cuts that we've made over the last few years, not because we thought it would be to make it better but because we had to, we can tell by looking at the trends and looking at the numbers and the data that's coming to us and talking with students and parents and community members we know that the educational experience at Lewis-Palmer is slipping.”
“In order to do right by our kids I really feel like they need the support from our community,” Borman said. “And with all the other things that's going on with the state the fact that we have local dollars going to local schools, that's what this community is about and I am hopeful we will step up and do what's right for our kids.”
The district will be asking for 10.5 mills at the Nov. 5 election which will go towards educational purpose including, but not limited to, providing students with the instructional skills necessary for success in college and the work place in areas including science, technology, engineering, math and the arts; providing for leading edge instruction and technology enabling advanced learning opportunities for students; restoring teachers and programs for students needing additional support; providing funds for restoring the teaching positions required to provide optimal class sizes; recruiting and retaining high quality teachers to maintain the highest level of educational excellence and providing funds to enhance the safety and security environment for students and staff.
D-38 board member John Magerko said he believes the MLO is necessary and his goal is to not just catch up but to move forward.
“What I think this whole MLO is all about is whole child, skills for the 21st century,” Magerko said.
“I'm in total support of this. I wish we didn't have to do it but because of funding and other impacts to our budget this is what we need to do to provide the education for our kids,” Pfoff said.
D-38 Board of Education President Jeff Ferguson added, “We need these services for our kids now.”
Borman added that his goal has always been an informed community. He said it's a great community and its one that will support the right things.