Recently, school board member Jeff Leany said, “Douglas County is 15 points ahead of us (on Transitional Colorado Assessment Program scores). Why wouldn’t we want to emulate that?” This question displays an alarming lack of understanding of what has happened in Douglas County.
First, Leany makes the incorrect assumption that the current Douglas County school board is responsible for increasing TCAP scores. In fact, by comparing the 2009 and 2013 state data, you can see the district has decreased its lead over the state average in all core academic areas. Prior to the current board taking over, Douglas County was “Accredited with Distinction.” That is no longer the case.
Second, while it has increased the number of upper administrators by 10 percent, it has decreased the number of teachers by 1 percent, which is especially alarming when you consider the district has gained more than 6,000 students during the current board’s tenure. This has increased the average class size by 11 percent.
During the same period, the average teacher salary has decreased by 5 percent and the school board made the superintendent the highest-paid public school executive in Colorado, paying her $280,350 a year.
Third, Douglas County is now one of the least transparent school boards in the state. Overall it went from being 8 percent closed to the public before the current board to being 49 percent closed to the public with the current board.
Brian Malone, a man who was arrested for taking video of a meeting of the Douglas County school board, will be screening his documentary “The Reformers” Oct. 7 at the Mesa Theater.
Ironically, the same day that the Sentinel reported Leany’s admiration for the Douglas County school system, the Denver Post reported 200 parents were rallying in support of their teachers outside the district’s administration building.
Knowing parent satisfaction in Douglas County is at 38 percent and teacher satisfaction is at a staggering 14 perecent, the real question for Leany is: “Why would we want to emulate that?”
DARREN A. COOK, President
Mesa Valley Education Association