Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight. I am here to speak on behalf of Douglas County Parents, a grassroots organization representing several thousand parents and community members.
On February 12, almost 200 concerned citizens came together with DCSD’s upper admin team to search for solutions in the hope of avoiding drastic budget cuts to our middle and high schools. That same effort needs to be accomplished in this room tonight. The solutions are out there and there have been numerous suggestions put forth by many thoughtful, knowledgeable parents, teachers, retired administrators, accountants, and community members. The children of Douglas county deserve to have their educations funded appropriately. For too many years, upper administration has taken priority over school level student needs.
The budget needs of the schools should be fulfilled before any money is allotted for upper administrators and their departments. This is a simple concept, but one which we have not been following.
The community was asked by the deputy superintendent to trust. Trust is easy to lose and difficult to regain.
When cuts are made that directly impact students, before administrative budgets are analyzed fully for potential cuts, trust is eroded not regained.
When the CFO quotes the wrong fiscal year data when questioned by a parent, trust diminishes.
When the assistant superintendent counts fees paid by parents as money coming from district coffers, trust drains away.
When multi-million dollar IT projects are funded and expenses never tracked, trust flies out the window.
When contract extensions and retention bonuses are proposed knowing that within days, cuts are coming to schools and students, trust has entirely left the building.
It is not up to the community to restore trust. It is the responsibility of the upper administration and board majority to restore trust with the community. A good first step would be to fully fund our middle and high schools. The money is out there; it should be allocated to benefit students first, not administration.