By Pat Crowley
Community Member and Parents of 2 DCSD Graduates
Published in print and online edition of YourHub
I hold these truths to be self-evident. All children have educational rights according to the Colorado constitution. To secure those rights, school boards were created deriving their powers from the people. Whenever any school board becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and institute a new school board. When a long train of abuses have been demonstrated to impede the education of the community’s children, it is our duty to hold the school board accountable and to elect new school board members for the future education of the children. The history of the present school board is a history of repeated fiscal irresponsibility and educational policy failures. To prove this, let facts be submitted.
The board instituted policies that resulted in high school students becoming part time and a 4.2M “fine” has to be paid. Students are seeing decreases in the number and variety of elective courses available. Through inaccurate budgeting and inadequate funding levels, the board has created great inequity between our schools. The board created a flawed 16M pay for performance system that only 30% of teachers believe is accurate and our teachers now make much less than surrounding districts. The board adopted a convoluted pay structure that has resulted in the mass departure of many well-respected, experienced teachers. 71% percent of our schools have had a principal leave since 2010 resulting in severe school level instability. An unconstitutional voucher program was developed and the board continues to pursue its implementation. The board has reduced public comment time at school board meetings thereby effectively silencing community members, parents and teachers. The board has insufficiently funded elementary schools resulting in fewer opportunities to participate in music and art. Class sizes have been allowed to increase to unacceptable levels. The board makes important decisions with little to no discussion and many appear to have been made behind closed doors under a veil of secrecy.
Families are paying increasing fees, including paying to ride the bus, and schools are forced to fundraise for basics while upper administration expenses balloon and pet projects flourish. The board forces students and teachers to participate in unsubstantiated education experiments, created at great expense to taxpayers, resulting in the loss of genuine learning opportunities. The board has silenced the voices of teachers, parents and the community by their blatant disregard of the results of the 2012 survey and refusal to administer a parent, teacher or community survey since. The board has failed to plan for and meet the district’s capital needs, currently at 275M and growing by at least 25M per year.
Every one of these grievances has been brought to the attention of the current school board only to be summarily dismissed. As a result, Douglas County’s schools are failing students, parents, and taxpayers. Three new school board directors must be elected by the citizens of Douglas County.