Hello, my name is Anne-Marie Lemieux and I am speaking on behalf of over 1,200 members of Douglas County Parents.
On Dec. 26 the district was found to be in violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. Many community members and community groups have asked for justice to be served including the termination of Elizabeth Fagen, Rob Ross and Cinamon Watson for their participation in misusing public tax dollars and district resources. Rather than holding lawbreakers accountable, behind closed doors this board has decided to appeal the lawsuit. We believe the more than $62,000 already spent on attorney fees to be excessive. To continue to waste tax dollars on this issue is irresponsible. To continue to defend the actions of those behaving unethically is not meeting Board policy, civic duty or your elected responsibility. We request one more time to drop the appeal regarding the violation of the fair campaign act.
Further, Douglas County Parents continues to be concerned at excessive spending practices plaguing our district.
For example, according to information on the transparency website:
- Spending on Communication Costs has gone up from about $21,000 in the 2009-10 school year to over $98,000 in the 12-13 school year AND escalated to $315,836 in the first half of this school year alone.
- Spending on Legal Fees and Services total over $2.6 million since 2009 with nearly $217,000 spent so far this year. This does not include the cost of the voucher lawsuit.
- Spending on Testing and Assessments have ballooned from about $359,000 in 2009-10 to over $959,000 during this year alone.
- More spending concerns include the data mining system, InspirEd, that the district is creating at taxpayer expense with no public discussion of cost.
- The implementation of personality testing on teachers and students called Emergenetics, with no discussion of cost.
- The cost of Professional Development from less than $300,000 2 years ago to nearly $1 million this year.
- The continued bait and switch discussion of opposing Common Core testing while the district spends public tax dollars creating their own “more rigorous” assessments that are based on GVCs which align with Common Core is also unacceptable.
All these expenses take much needed funding away from our schools, and our children.
With a 900:1 counselor to student ratio, class sizes and case loads above manageable levels and programming that has still not been restored to the schools since budget cuts began under the current leadership; we believe this district spending on experimental reforms is out of control.
Just yesterday it was revealed in a news article that DCSD is actively seeking a PR firm. In addition this board is considering spending millions on human resources software when proper public input has not been sought and there is no documentation that five bids were made for this task as required by board policy.
Douglas County Parents will continue to hold this board accountable for their policies, behaviors toward community members, excessive spending practices on unproven experiments and a failure to their elected duties.
We are not going away.