Good evening directors and welcome to DCSD, Dr. Tucker! We are Darien Wilson, Jason Virdin, and Maria Lauer. We are from Douglas County Parents, a public education advocacy group. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight.
We would like to express our support for bond and mill levy override questions to be placed on this year’s ballot. It has been 12 years since our school district has passed a bond or MLO and the need becomes more apparent with each passing day. Our teachers are among the lowest paid educators in the Denver area. Every year we lose more quality teachers to neighboring districts. Our best teachers know they can dramatically increase their salaries by crossing County Line Road. We appreciate their dedication to DCSD, but this is not sustainable.
From a capital needs perspective, we are now drawing from the general fund to help repair and maintain our buildings, further reducing the funds that should be used for curriculum, teacher pay, and educational materials. Already, parents are asked to supply copy paper, tissue, and whiteboard markers because our schools are so underfunded. Additionally, the numerous tier one needs in our district have the potential to impact the safety of our students in the near future. In short, our schools are in dire need of a financial infusion to remain competitive with neighboring districts and give our students the education they deserve.
We understand that Amendment 73, a statewide school funding initiative, is likely to make its way on the ballot. Its presence on the ballot may complicate your decision. Regardless of whether Amendment 73 appears on the ballot, we ask that you place both a bond and MLO question on the ballot. While the passing of Amendment 73 would benefit our district, it will do nothing to close the funding gap between DCSD and neighboring school districts. Closing that funding gap is critically important and is necessary to improve the educational opportunities for our students. In addition, we feel it is important to remind the community that 100% of the money raised through a local bond or mill levy override would stay here in Douglas County.
As public education supporters, we feel that adequate funding is extremely important to support our students, teachers and schools. The bottom line is that we need money to make our district the destination district it once was. Our children deserve the very best education. We firmly believe the future of Douglas County School District is in your hands. You have the best interest of 68 thousand students at heart and take this responsibility very seriously. We urge you to give voters the opportunity to act in the best interest of our children and our community.