FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FROM DOUGLAS COUNTY PARENTS
Contact: Meg Masten, DCP Spokesperson
June 25, 2015
CDE Audit to Cost Douglas County Taxpayers $4.2 Million
Parents and staff of the Douglas County School District were notified today by Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen that DCSD will be fined $4,200,000 by the Colorado Department of Education due to inadequate “bookkeeping.” According to the district’s communication, our school district did not meet CDE’s documentation requirements to prove that our high school students were “full-time” during the years of 2012-2014.
During that timeframe, district administration cut $3.6 Million from high schools’ budgets, despite an increase in the State’s per pupil funding the first year and the district posted an operating surplus of $17M immediately after making these cuts. As a result, most high schools were forced to implement a drastic schedule change that resulted in excessive free periods for students, decreased instructional minutes, and an increased caseload for teachers. When the schedule change was created by district administration, the Assistant Superintendent, Dan McMinimee, assured that “little” instructional time would be lost. Over two years ago, parents expressed their concerns, and presented supporting data to DCSD administrators, only to be met with resistance (link).
The CDE has now determined that our high school students were part-time between 2012-2014. Dr. Fagen claims it is simply a “documentation issue” related to student advisement time.
Many DCSD high school principals have since adjusted their schedules to reverse the negative impacts listed above, working diligently to provide every student with a quality education despite skeleton budgets. Dr. Fagen informed our community that the district will use “every legal pathway” to challenge the CDE’s decision. This action will not only raise the costs of taxpayers, but it will divert even more funding away from our community’s classrooms.