Why School Finance Matters

Why Durango 9-R’s Financial Crisis Matters to Us – and to You

 

Highlights:

  • As a rural district, Durango School District 9-R must serve a wider variety of demographic constituencies than an urban district, so 9-R must stretch its dollars further.
  • Good schools, adequately funded, attract people, businesses and investments to the community, enhancing the economic well being of everyone.
  • Durango has a history of supporting education, yet property taxes and other resources are shrinking.
  • Durango 9-R continues to operate with $4 million less per year than in 2009.
  • Durango 9-R is using reserves to meet budget needs for 2015-16.
  • In per pupil funding for 2012, Colorado is ranked 40th out of 50 states; Durango 9-R is ranked 145th out of 178 Colorado school districts.
  • In 2014, community and educators identified priorities:
    • Help for struggling learners at all levels
    • Continuation of music, art and physical education classes
    • Increased access to 21st century technology for students
    • Maintaining low class sizes
    • Yet, identified priorities and needs may not be supportable given budget deficiencies.
  • DEF invites the whole community to take action to close the funding gap. Opportunities include:
    • Talking with friends, co-workers and neighbors about the problem
    • Pressing legislators to develop long-range plans for sustainable education funding for Colorado schools
    • Giving generously through the Durango Education Foundation to support the programs, materials and technology needs that 9-R cannot include in its regular budget

 

Narrative:

Rural school districts have long been respected for bringing high quality education to children in far-flung areas, and Durango School District 9-R is no exception. While balancing a wide variety of children’s needs and interests, our school district consistently prepares students well for post-secondary work and study. But ask any teacher in the district whether he or she wants to do even better, and the answer will be an enthusiastic “Yes!” Yet that same educator will also cite inadequate funding as the primary obstacle to greater achievement.

That dedicated educator is one of many who ensure that Durango 9-R’s effectiveness radiates outside the school walls. Good schools, adequately funded, function like magnets that attract businesses and investment and launch an upward spiral of improved results. Well-educated students have a better chance giving back to our community. Our entire community benefits from Durango 9-R’s health. Happily, Durango has a long history of supporting our schools, but now that support is needed more than ever before.

Durango School District 9-R continues to face a downward funding spiral. Due to the economic downturn and reduced property tax valuation, Durango 9-R is operating with $4 million less annually in state and local funding than in 2009. Durango 9-R is using reserves to meet critical needs for 2015-16.

On a per-pupil basis, Colorado is in the bottom 10 for funding of states nationwide; and 9-R itself has less to spend on our classrooms than 145 other school districts out of 178 in Colorado. Through pragmatic funding cuts and dipping into reserves, the district has stretched its resources to keep class sizes manageable and maintain the core education programs, but if there ever was any “fluff,” it has long since been excised. There are only more tough choices ahead.

Please consider giving through the Durango Education Foundation to support the important educational elements needed for innovation, achievement and excellence to continue to be the hallmarks of Durango School District 9-R education.

 

 

 

Funding Durango 9-R schools: It’s urgent. It’s essential.

And it’s up to all of us.