By Pat Crowley
Parent of DCSD graduates
From Denver Post Your Hub (online 1/8/2015; print 1/15/2015)
Quid pro quo, the Latin term for “something for something” is repeatedly occurring in regards to Douglas County School District. It began several years ago in connection with the highly contentious voucher program. According to campaign finance records, the president of Valor Christian High School, Ed McVaney, contributed $5,000 to each “reformer” candidate in 2009 and $10,000 to each voucher friendly candidate in 2011. Valor would have been the biggest recipient of voucher dollars at $70,912 before the program was halted by the courts and the money returned. Coincidence or quid pro quo?
Another campaign contributor to the “reform” candidates during the last two school board election cycles was Bill Armstrong, a politician and current President of Colorado Christian University(CCU). Not surprisingly, we now see many high school concurrent enrollment opportunities with CCU, including Advanced Placement US History(APUSH). Although CCU receives a $200 fee from the student, there is no guarantee to the student that the credits will be transferable to their future college of choice. Coincidence or quid pro quo?
The Douglas County school board received a new charter school application for John Adams Charter High School. The charter group had already secured a location for their school. Previous DougCo school board president and “reformer” John Carson is a current board member of this proposed school. The DougCo school board just approved a fast track approval process for charter schools that have already entered into a contract for a building. Coincidence or quid pro quo?
After dropping out of the Colorado Association of School Boards(CASB) in 2010, ostensibly because the costs outweighed the benefits, the DougCo school board decided to rejoin last November at a cost of $24,060 (a full year’s dues for a partial year). An email between our Superintendent and the Director of CASB indicates a willingness of CASB to publically support the district in some of its legal battles if DCSD’s board were to rejoin the association. In August of last year, CASB filed a brief in support of DCSD with regard to local control in the voucher lawsuit litigated last month in the Colorado Supreme Court. Coincidence or quid pro quo?
DougCo school board director Meghann Silverthorn is now prominently featured on a mailer sponsored by Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, a nonprofit funded by two oil and gas companies. In 2013, Silverthorn received $25,000 in campaign contributions from Alex Cranberg, oil and gas company owner, voucher proponent, and education “reformer” in Texas. Coincidence or quid pro quo?
Ethics should be at the forefront of the decision-making process regarding the education of the children of Douglas County by our elected school board members. Unfortunately, they appear to be setting a very poor example.