Letter to the editor: Slate offers steady leadership

Posted 10/4/17

As a U.S. Army Veteran, I understand the importance of preparing the next generation of Americans to be successful, independent citizens. I also know firsthand about the importance of strong, stable …

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Letter to the editor: Slate offers steady leadership

Posted

As a U.S. Army Veteran, I understand the importance of preparing the next generation of Americans to be successful, independent citizens. I also know firsthand about the importance of strong, stable leadership that can focus on the mission: Providing an exceptional education for every student in Douglas County. That's why I'll be voting for Randy Mills, Debora Scheffel, Ryan Abresch and Grant Nelson - the Elevate Douglas County slate - in the school board election this November.

Our nation has many pressing problems that the next generation will have to tackle, and it is our job as neighbors, parents and friends to get them ready to tackle them. It has been a breath of fresh air to hear Mills, Scheffel, Abresch and Nelson focusing on rising above conflict and drama in the district. These candidates are former educators, community leaders and public-school parents of all stripes. They have consistently shown that they have the poise and dignity to maintain their composure and focus even as their opposition ramps up negativity. That is what steady leadership looks like, and it's exactly what we need.

The Elevate candidates have spoken in support of enhancing parental choice, expanding vocational education opportunities and working to ensure students finish school with the skills they need to build their own futures and become productive members of our nation. I'll be proud to cast my vote for them.

Nicholas Inman

Sedalia

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ThomasH

Like the author, I am honorably-discharged from military service. Unlike him, I live in Highlands Ranch and have elementary school-aged children. The author of this Letter to the Editor has no greater claim on patriotism or concern about future generations than I do. The Elevate slate candidates are simply a re-branded version of the Douglas County School District Reformers. The supporters of these candidates have an extreme agenda for US public education. They want to privatize it. The aim of this group is to induce financial calamity in DCSD and then offer privatization as the solution for the problem they created. Wrapping oneself in the flag or claiming that we all need to rise above "conflict and drama in the district" is a preposterous response to real political and policy divisions in the school district. Douglas County has not passed a school bond or a school mill levy override since 2006. At 30.5, Douglas County has the lowest education mill levy of the South Metro school districts, Cherry Creek, Littleton, and Jefferson County. Douglas County is the 5th wealthiest county in the United States. Historically, the southern rural parts of Douglas County have had the lowest levels of electoral support for public school funding. A "triangle" of Douglas County neighborhoods with a base on County Line Road and an apex in Castle Rock produces contains ALMOST ALL of the residences sending students to Douglas County schools. The rest of the 850 square mile county sends essentially no students to public schools. Acceleration in real estate property valuations is strongly correlated with public school quality in the northern suburbs (or "student triangle") of Douglas County. In the more far-flung rural parts of Douglas County, this relationship does not apply. Whether of not, a voter in Douglas County currently has children in DCSD, and 70% do not, residents of the northern suburbs enjoy faster appreciation of their real estate values when the schools are better. It is a normal expectation that residents of a wealthy suburb will have excellent public schools. When my family moved here 11 years ago, the schools were excellent. But after chronic local under-funding and ideologically-driven education reforms, the Colorado Department of Education documents the deterioration in DCSD performance. Having excellent public schools in wealthy suburbs is something the USA already knows how to do. Successful school districts in these areas have mainstream education management and an abundance of local tax dollar support. The division in Douglas County about schools happens across a suburban-rural fault line. The northern suburbs in Douglas County that have both students and the lion's share of commercial property tax values want to pay for schools because it is essentially in the self-interest of this area. The remainder of the county remains a traditional locus of rural anti-tax sentiment. The issues raised by the Reformers, choice, charters, vouchers, unions, and the like, are cynical wedge issues designed to get the suburban voters to vote against their own interests because the rural areas are not quite populous enough to defeat local school funding measures without additional support. The 2017 Board of Education election is a test vote for subsequent school bond and school mill levy override measures that DCSD needs to survive as a functioning public school district. Don't be fooled. This school board election is important and it is about real economic issues of great importance to Douglas County. Learn about the issues in detail and vote intelligently.

Thomas Horiagon

Highlands Ranch

Wednesday, October 11