By Pat Crowley
Community member and parent of former DCSD students
Published in Denver Post Your Hub August 2014
The colloquialism caddywhompus, meaning “uneven”, “broken” or “out of whack,” aptly describes the current state of our school district’s finances. In my opinion, there is a decided lack of fiduciary responsibility being demonstrated by the current Superintendent and Board of Education.
While $275 million in capital project needs goes unmet, while school based budgets are continually squeezed resulting in fewer teachers and staff members and larger class sizes, while teachers and principals are lured away to better paying neighboring districts, an ever-increasing amount of tax dollars are being diverted away from the classroom and into pet projects and upper administration. Hundreds of thousands is spent on personality testing, but not enough is available to have music and art in every elementary school. Tens of millions are made available for endless district-created information technology platforms and data collection systems, but school children are still paying to ride the bus. Money is found to hire a public relations firm to promote the district, while parents pay ever increasing school registration fees.
The district is looking for a contractor to upgrade the school board meeting room so it can function like a commercial television studio, but there is no money left in some schools site based budgets to buy books or curriculum. Funding seems readily available for yet another highly compensated district level administrator, yet many high school students are forced into part time schedules due to budget cuts. Time and money is still being spent trying to correct the district’s flawed teacher evaluation system (for the 3rd time!), even though the state model was offered for free. Millions is spent on district created standardized assessments, all while the superintendent and school board complain about too much testing. The district communications budget has increased by hundreds of thousands of dollars, and our school district has spent nearly $113,500 of taxpayer money to defend their illegal actions in the last election.
Our school board claims to be conservative-minded, but the flagrant spending of our tax dollars on pet projects over the needs of our students and their families is anything but. Caddywhompus indeed.