Roundup of this week's letters to the editor on Douglas County School Board races

Posted 10/12/17

These four are the way to go

As someone who wants to ensure that DCSD's Board of Education is representative of all students and schools in our community, I'm voting for candidates who have …

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Roundup of this week's letters to the editor on Douglas County School Board races


These four are the way to go

As someone who wants to ensure that DCSD's Board of Education is representative of all students and schools in our community, I'm voting for candidates who have diverse experience with public schools. I was pleased to hear that Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor have backgrounds that represent both neighborhood and charter schools. Kevin Leung is proud that his daughters attended DCS Montessori. He also served on the District Accountability Committee (DAC) from 2008 to 2011. While on the DAC Charter School subcommittee, he recommended the approval of STEM, Ben Franklin Academy and Aspen View Academy. 

By supporting a MLO/bond, Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor agree with the recommendations of School Accountability Committees and Interim Superintendent Erin Kane. At a recent charter school leadership forum, charter principals and board directors also expressed the importance of MLO funding.  

Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung, and Schor support this for all schools. They have committed to equitable MLO (and PPR) funding for both charters and neighborhood schools. Elevate has clearly expressed opposition to a MLO/bond, citing a recent $20 million dollar "surplus" in this year's budget. However, the $20 million is not a recurring surplus and doesn't even make a dent in the $269 million backlog in unmet capital maintenance needs or the $107 million that will be needed to construct new schools in newly developed areas in the next five years.  $20 million is less than one month of DCSD's isn't a solution. Other districts have had up to an extra $100 million in funding from MLO/bonds, resulting in better teacher pay. I was happy to hear that Kevin Leung was on the committee in 2006 that recommended a MLO/bond to the Board of Education - he understands the process and need for community involvement. Vote for Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor.

Karin Asensio

Highlands Ranch

Time to rebuild school district

I have lived in Douglas County for 25 years. My children received a great education here. Unfortunately, after eight years of reform policies, our school district has declined. This is evidenced by the loss of our "Accredited with Distinction" rating and documented additionally by the fact that we now have 11 schools on improvement plans whereas in 2008-09 we were at the top of the ratings scale and no schools were identified as underperforming. Additionally concerning is the dramatic and continuing high teacher turnover. After decades of stability, we now see teachers leaving at alarming rates with the last two years of turnover being over 19 percent.

As a community, we must, once and for all, reverse this and rebuild our school district so once again all students will receive the same great educational opportunities my kids received. The only way to do this is to vote for the school board director candidates who reject the reform policies of the past, are connected to the schools and communities they will represent and have the respect of the teachers and parents. It is easy to tell who these candidates are. Their names, Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung and Christina Schor, are painted on the cars of teachers, parents and community members all over the county.

Patricia Crowley

Lone Tree

Choose candidates who back teachers

I have been dismayed to watch many of my best colleagues leave the DCSD for Cherry Creek and Littleton districts over the past eight years due to the policies of the board of education. I can hardly blame them, since CCSD pays around $16,000 more and LPS $11,000 more. Nevertheless, my heart breaks because each departure means the students' education is compromised.

The constant upheaval of staff drains the energy of building administrators, requires many hours of mentoring our new colleagues and simply hurts student learning.

Teacher turnover in DCSD is the highest among our surrounding districts by far. 

The failing policies of the school board have created a work environment that is untenable for teachers - our input was disregarded in the creation of our CITE evaluation document, "market based" pay bands or even the Guaranteed Viable Curriculum.

Those teachers deemed "Highly Effective" or "Innovative," are granted pay raises of 0.3 percent - hardly enough to prevent us from leaving for districts that might better value our input, experience and education.

This "Highly Effective" teacher is proud to say that the entirety of her $162 pay raise has been donated to the campaigns of Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor. These are the four candidates who will allow DCSD teachers to get back to the valuable business of educating students, and keeping our best and brightest teachers within the district.

Julia Dale

Highlands Ranch

(Rock Canyon vocal music instructor)

Reforms are not working

The current board of education majority, as well as previous BOE reformers, have controlled DCSD since 2009. Chaos and dysfunction have reigned, with thousands of teachers fleeing our district. Funding has been diverted from classrooms to unnecessary upper-administration pet projects without budgets. Capital needs on our taxpayer assets have been ignored.  The reforms are not working. Trust and excellence for all students must be restored by voting for four new BOE candidates without ties to the destructive reform agenda.

The BOE establishes DCSD's strategic plan, hires the superintendent, and determines funding priorities for our 89 schools, affecting 8,700 employees and over 67,000 students.  I am tired of all the chaos and fiscal mismanagement in our district.  We can do better.  It's time to restore trust, stability, and transparency back to DCSD.  Our votes are important. CommUNITY matters.  I support Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung and Chris Schor for DCSD board of education.

Constance Ingram
Highlands Ranch

Elevate slate is the right choice

Do you remember your favorite teacher? Mine was Mrs. McPherson, a stern woman with a big heart. She ran a very tight ship in our sixth-grade class and instilled in me a great love of reading and learning. Mrs. McPherson taught me the value of an excellent education!

It's because of Mrs. McPherson that I'm voting for RANDY Mills, RYAN Abresch, DEBORA Scheffel and GRANT Nelson, the ELEVATE DougCo School Board slate. It's important that all four of these stellar candidates be elected.

RANDY, RYAN, DEBORA & GRANT are focused on an excellent education for every student in Douglas County. Educational options empower kids to succeed and RANDY MILLS (successful electrical contractor) has the vision and professional connections to create a premier vocational/technical training program for our kids.

RYAN ABRESCH is the face of the future of Douglas County. He knows that families want options when choosing the very best school for their child's unique gifts, talents and challenges. Plus, as an attorney and former deputy prosecutor in Pueblo, RYAN will bring his reasonable, thoughtful approach to the dais to help calm the chaos of the last couple of years.

DEBORA SCHEFFEL has a heart for teachers. She is one. Her career started right here in Douglas County, teaching kids with special needs. DEBORA earned her doctorate degree from Northwestern and is currently the Dean of Education at Colorado Christian University. She is the most qualified educator of any of the eight candidates.

GRANT NELSON is a dad and a successful businessman. GRANT brings years of negotiation skills to the dais. GRANT's understanding of finances and balance sheets will be invaluable as this slate drills deep into the School District's budget.

I'm voting for RANDY, RYAN, DEBORA & GRANT for our kids, our families, our teachers and our community.

Kim Monson

Lone Tree

Elevate the school board

The DCSD school board has been fighting for years over a straw man.

Which is more worthy: charters or neighborhood schools? The answer is they are equally valuable and necessary for DougCo kids.

If you have kids or grandkids, you know what they need to succeed in school. You know what motivates them, what they love - or hate - about school. You understand their learning style and the environment they need to achieve. 

Now what about the kids down the street? Do you know their needs and goals? Do you know their learning style and the environment that best draws out their success?

What if the schooling decisions of the family down the street are different than yours? Are you willing to tell those parents they're wrong? Are you willing to tell those parents they made the wrong decision for their kids?

No matter what you think about public charter schools or neighborhood schools, you'd be a major heel to pass such judgment on your neighbor's decisions.

The bottom line is parents know what's best for their kids. They don't need judgment from community members. They don't need judgment from current members of the school board.

Look at kids in the neighborhood and the straw man argument evaporates. The ugly debates that permeate social media and infused in school board meetings make little sense once you put a face to the debate.

Douglas County needs a school board that'll fight for every one regardless of the decisions they make for their kids' education.

That's why Randy Mills, Ryan Abresch, Deborah Scheffel and Grant Nelson are running for the school board and why you should vote to Elevate the school board.

Stu Parker

Highlands Ranch

Support excellence in education

The Elevate Candidates are focused on excellence in education for all students without such a disproportionate focus on "special needs" ... and that means addressing the aptitude of students to include special needs best determined with parental empowerment options. Notice I used the word "aptitude" (a natural ability to do something...suitability or fitness for, a skill, a knack, or a talent.)

Please understand that this focus is not opposed to supporting special needs. Debora Scheffel of the Elevate Slate has devoted her life to teaching with a particular passion for working with special needs kids. The Elevate Team wants excellence in education above all for everyone.

The opportunity to develop a student's natural born aptitudes is paramount to life career success. Randy Mills, who is the proprietor of a commercial electrical company, sees great potential for well-paying career choices in the skilled trades. He has a burning passion to introduce students to this wide variety of skills that can include internships and apprenticeships for those whose aptitudes lean in that direction. This is a high priority with Randy, Ryan, Debora and Grant. How wonderful it would be to match students natural "aptitude" with the right education that can only enhance the chance for success and happiness.

I am particularly excited about these choices as they have applied to my own son, a most unmotivated college student  who finally struck his stride in the media field beginning with audio and video skills training followed internships and apprenticeship programs and today he has a high-powered job. I am forever grateful to the teachers and mentors who recognized my son's aptitude and steered him toward his passion. I fully support the Elevate Douglas County team of Randy, Ryan, Debora and Grant

Evelyn Zur



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