DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- On Tuesday, Douglas County voters approved both a mill levy override (5A) and a bond measure (5B). The district says the measures will help improve and and expand schools in a fast-growing county.
“We are so thankful to those who voted in favor of additional funding for our great schools and students. And we appreciate the hundreds of volunteers who gave up evenings and weekends to inform our public about the importance of these ballot measures,” said Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D., Superintendent of Douglas County School District.
Funding from 5A and 5B will be used to:
- Increase teacher/staff pay to address internal pay gaps and become more competitive with the pay of neighboring school districts
- Enhance safety and security at all schools, including neighborhood, charter, magnet and alternative schools
- Reduce student to counselor ratios at middle and high schools, and add counselors at the elementary school level
- Address overdue capital repairs at school buildings such as heating and cooling systems, fire alarm systems, plumbing, etc.
- Add more student programming opportunities, including alternative and career/technical education options
- Explore and provide new construction to address community growth
- Replace aging buses and classroom technology
Not everyone voted for the measures.
Denver7 talked with Douglas County parent David A. DiCarlo, who brought up the issue of school overcrowding. For example, Castle View High School in Castle Rock is bursting at the seams. The DCSD says funding from the newly-passed measures will allow them to add-on to the school to allow for more room. Right now, mobile classrooms are the only option.
DiCarlo doesn’t believe more funding from residents is the answer. He says open enrollment is the issue. While Castle View High School is over capacity, nearby Douglas County High School is under capacity.
“Parents are opting into the newer, shinier building,” said DiCarlo. “Instead of asking for more money they [the district] need to look at enrollment. Where can we close some schools? Where can we cut some costs?”
Brad Geiger, Chairman of the Douglas County Long Range Planning Committee, told Denver7 his team has spent the last 18 months analyzing the capacity issues across the district.
“Last February we pointed out that the district faced issues of underutilized schools in some areas and over-utilized schools in others,” Geiger wrote in an email.
The DCSD is also banking on money from 5A and 5B to enhance older schools to perhaps prevent parents from opting their kids out of certain schools.
In the meantime, DiCarlo voted no on 5A and 5B.
“I hope they are responsible with the money. We will be watching carefully,” he said.