There were two real surprises last night. The first is that over a thousand people showed up, filling Bear Creek High School Auditorium to capacity while JeffCo’s security announced that there were another 400-500 people waiting outside. The second surprise was that WNW did not pull any surprise antic on us. They just did pretty much what we expected. They keptthe $3.7 million additional funds for Charter Schools and the $840,000 additional for GT. They continued to refuseto reinstate $600,000 to fund free full-day kindergarten for almost 400 at-risk children, and they also refused to specifically increase the Reserve Fund (they are counting on extra money from the State). They also continued to refuse to put discussing Brad Miller’s contract on the agenda. The one minor surprise is that they actually approved the purchasing of the new elementary math curriculum, Math Expressions.
That took not quite two hours. The meeting lasted for seven and a half.
What took up the remaining five and half hours?
About 45 minutes was spent approving the Consent Agenda, honoring a teacher and high school wrestlers and setting up the meetings for the rest of the school year.
Four and three-quarter hours were public comment. And if you were not there for this public comment, you are the poorer for it.
From 7:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., more people than we could count came up and presented to the Board with a passion that was at the same time moving, overwhelming, powerful, and inspiring. Teachers, students, parents, concerned citizens poured out their hearts. The two dominate topics were employee compensation and funding free full-day kindergarten. Everything else was swamped by these two themes.
WNW ignored all of the logic, reasoning, statistics, and emotion in favor of funding FFD kindergarten, of course. And that does not bode well for JCEA & JCAA in the upcoming negotiations. But for the rest of us, it was inspiring and motivating. If you were unsure this is a battle worth fighting, you had no doubts at the end of the night.
If you want to recruit someone into this fight, you do not need to marshal your arguments and persuasive skills. Simply get them to come to a Board meeting. Watching WNW in the meeting will persuade them far better than you ever could.
And that is why they will (eventually) lose. All we have to do is not give up.
Keep fighting, JeffCo!