A parent, educator and education association leader from Weld School District RE-4 asked the Windsor, Severance and West Greeley School Board to prioritize smaller class sizes as it considered the potential development of a tax to be presented to voters in the district in November.
Stephanie Hausmann, a mother of two Weld RE-4 students, a literature and composition teacher at Windsor High School and president of the Windsor-Severance Education Association, spoke to the district school board at a meeting Wednesday night special in Windsor.
The council first met for a working session on the potential issues and content of a derogatory tax on the factory levy. The board plans to ask voters to pledge the property tax increase, known as MLO, to help the district fund classroom needs, such as staff and curriculum.
The money from the bonds is used to fund investment projects such as building and renovating schools. The school board must decide next month whether it will pay a $271 bond at the November ballot.
Hausmann addressed the board near the top of the short special meeting where the board approved meeting items and his intention to stand in an election. This last element does not mean that the council will decide to participate in an election – to offer voters measures on a bond or an MLO.
Declaration of intent means that only the district will declare before July 29 due to deadlines for notice and formal action in an election year. If the council does not approve a voting resolution next month as scheduled, the information will not be sent to the county.
During the working session, the board’s discussion of potential MLO issues included prioritizing needs such as teacher salaries and start-up costs to open schools.
Start-up costs would come with the opening of new schools if the board decides to send a $271 million bond proposal to voters this fall and is approved to allow schools to be built and renovated.
Hausmann told the board based on surveys she is familiar with, the Weld RE-4 community wants high-quality educators in the long-term district and small class sizes for students.
Hausmann asked the board to remember the request for smaller class sizes when reviewing and developing MLO questions.
“Any ability with an MLO to reduce class sizes, and that will help address students’ problematic repetitive behavior,” Hausmann said.
She told the board that the district was facing “unprecedented levels” of teachers feeling undervalued, attacked and overwhelmed. These are uncommon trends in the district, said Hausmann, who has more than two decades of experience teaching Weld RE-4.
“We usually have happy educators,” she added.
Hausmann said the board needs to tell teachers they are aware of and recognize the collective experiences and challenges of educators.
“It’s not about a specific amount (of money on an MLO),” she said. “We need to secure and help retain teachers during a national educator shortage. It’s not about the money. It is about recognition and acknowledgment. This is what you must give to teachers now.