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My family moved to Highlands Ranch 10 years ago because it was a family-oriented community with one of the best school districts in the nation. Little did we know Douglas County School District would be facing a budget crisis in only a few years.
While voters in comparable, high-performing districts such as Littleton, Cherry Creek and Jeffco have supported mill levies, overrides and bonds over the past several years, Douglas County voters have rejected them the past three times they have been put on the ballot. The result? Neighboring districts can afford to maintain buildings and pay teachers competitive rates.
On average, Littleton pays its teachers $13,000 more a year than DCSD; Cherry Creek pays $17,000 more (Source: CDE 2015-16 Average Teacher Salary). School leadership can attest to terrific teachers leaving DCSD for deservedly higher salaries across our border and new offers being turned down by the most qualified candidates as they are lured elsewhere. In addition, our buildings are aging and we must face the reality that many have urgent costly repair needs.
I encourage not just parents, but all voters, business owners and community members to learn more by attending a District presentation at ThunderRidge High School (May 14, 7 p.m.) or at Ponderosa High School (May 16, 6 p.m.).
Find out why, despite booming growth, despite being the richest county in the state and the sixth wealthiest large county in the nation, DCSD is struggling to make ends meet. For our children, future business prosperity and housing values, we must educate ourselves and solve this critical problem.
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