Public Comment to the Board of Education
March 18, 2014
Tonight, for the 3rd time, we ask this Board to demonstrate integrity and accept accountability for violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. We, again, ask for the immediate termination of Supt. Elizabeth Fagen, District Counsel Rob Ross, and Community Relations Officer Cinnamon Watson for breaking the law in the State of Colorado.
At this point, Mr. Larsen used his gavel to interrupt me, saying I was “off topic” and I needed to address the agenda item I had identified. I said, “I will get to that in a minute,” to which he replied, “Get to it now.”
We also ask that your current appeal of this case be dropped. This appeal is purely self-serving for this Board of Education, and it will have zero positive impact on the education of our children, wasting tax dollars that should otherwise be earmarked for the classrooms.
Douglas County Parents is requesting a parent survey completed by the end of the school year. Parents have the most intimate relationships with, and understanding of, what is currently occurring in DC schools. We have a vested interest in the direction of this district, and we have facts, experiences, and opinions that deserve to be a part of the decision-making process at the district level. A parent survey, which used to be performed annually, has not been accepted by the Board in 4yrs. In the spirit of transparency and desire to extend an olive branch, administer the survey.
DCP is requesting an increase in fiscal transparency. First, there is a glaring absence of the total taxpayer costs associated with the following: InspirEd, district-created assessments, CITE, and Emergenetics. Second, DSCD recently paid thousands from its General Fund to the DCEF for “Board of Education Dues and Fees.” And third, Student Based Budgeting is only as effective as the dollars put into it. Principals are trying to make ends meet, while upper administration costs, pet projects, and unproved initiatives continue to divert millions of dollars from the classroom. You, as a Board, owe a thorough explanation to the taxpayers of this county regarding where exactly their money is being spent and why.
I resumed speaking at this point…
Finally, DCP would like to express our concern regarding the continued suppression of public comment and the virtually non-existent two-way communication between this Board and those that you serve. The public is being threatened with expulsion from public meetings for clapping or discussing topics not approved. Will there then be no clapping for staff and students when they are recognized for awards or special accomplishments? Clapping does not interfere with public business, but effectively shows support for or against what is presented in a public forum. It is becoming very apparent that the public’s free speech and expression are being violated, and this administration is promoting a climate of fear, oppression, and control. Furthermore, the Board’s recent attempt to effectively interact with the community at the “Unplugged” meeting was, in fact, a stifling, one-dimensional format with a deliberate agenda. The fact that these meetings are “unofficial” is alarming. Questions were asked but not answered. People’s comments were cut off. Issues that arose were flat-out ignored. DCP is requesting that you re-evaluate how you communicate with your stakeholders during public meetings and implement a more World Class approach to integrate listening, respect, compromise and collaboration, instead of dictating to the public what is most comfortable for you as a Board.
We are not going away. Thank you for your time.