Board cites taxpayer payoffs, others say students are impacted
Or, use your
Good point, DCSDMom. Also, the SSC uses a variety of sources to get their information. If they took everything from the District as the truth, without verifying accuracy (via CDE and other districts for their respective data), then SSC would not be dealing in facts. If you simply trust blind faith that the District is telling the truth, then you are likely falling for their propaganda. Doesn't it bother you that they are paying for commercials to advertise the District? What other public school districts do that?
@CR Mom: Strong Schools Coalition (SSC) has been completely transparent and updated the error on their document, as well as sent an update regarding this (and other items) to its 500+ members. I appreciate this honesty.
You neglected to mention that Ms. Betz (DCSD CFO) told the SSC that another number on its document was incorrect regarding a Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) number. SSC contacted the CCSD CFO and he immediately replied stating that SSC was correct, not Ms. Betz. A copy of his letter is on the SSC website.
It sounds to me like they are playing some type of 'game' with our money and have a secret agenda for achieving the A++ rating. It's so sad. The reason we came to DougCo was for the education system. Now, it's why we are leaving.
With all due respect, unions have nothing to do with any of this. Sheesh. Where do these people come from?
@ Teacher Strong Schools has posted on their website that they made an error. The district informed them of the error. So there were not accurate as you say. What is to say that they have not made more errors on their other information?
I like to deal with facts. I look at information from both groups. DougCo Parent Alliance had the details that I was looking for, not propaganda. Their information was from the CAFR, the link is in their post.
Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
I am interested in what propaganda you have seen DougCo Parent Alliance post? Or is it just that you don't like that they deal with the complete information?
Hey Jane -- Interesting that you change the article when a group that looks suspiciously like a front group for the angry union bosses complains to you. Hmmm...perhaps a little more investigation into the relationship between "Strong Schools," a.k.a. "Skews Stats," and Our Colorado News is what is really needed.
@CR Mom...as I understand it, the fund balance is upwards of $83 million dollars. Inaccurate budgeting by our incompetent CFO is resulting in our schools taking unnecessary cuts. I don't care where they hide the money, the fact of the matter is that taxpayers expect the taxes that are collected for our schools be spent on our schools. I have checked the strongschoolscoalition.org numbers and they are accurate. They post all their sources, so it's easy to verify where they get their numbers.
Those of us working in the schools know the truth. I'm not sure who you are, but you must be part of the DougCo Parent Alliance propaganda machine. Any chance you expected to receive a voucher?
@Teacher Small amount?
Schools $5.5 in Full day kindergarten$8.5 Million in other carryover funds$6.4 Million went back to the schools
Teachers/Staff$3.1 Million for early separation$5.6 Million for Retention Bonus$6 Million for Extended Service Severance$2.2 Million for PERA
TABOR is roughly $13M
It looks like Strong Schools made some errors in their data. How can the community trust any of their other calculations?
@CR Mom...the amount being held by the schools is a small part of the fund balance and I can assure you that the rest is not being set aside for teacher raises. Even if it were, I think I speak for most of colleagues when I say that we would rather have that money spent on our students. The bleeding of our schools needs to stop.
As far as the information coming out of DougCo Parent Alliance is concerned, those of us working in the schools know that their information is nothing more than school board propaganda. The information provided by strongschoolscoalition.org more closely reflects the reality we are dealing with in our schools everyday.
@ Teacher Yes money in the reserves is not what it seems. Schools are holding money and money was set aside to go back to schools and for the staff increases. Here is some detailed information regarding the fund balances. http://dougcoparentalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/a-closer-look-at-the-dcsd-fund-balances/
Oh, so now it's $3 a year, not $1 a year? Still doesn't work for me. My children's education is worth far more than that. We have given up more in opportunities and paid more in new, additional fees than $3 will ever cover. I'd rather see the District reinstate the Letter of Credit and free up some of those reserves to educate the children - which is what my taxes are intended to do. I don't know about anyone else, but I think the $1700+/year I pay in school taxes should go to the public schools - not to some reserve to help board members further their political goals.
Money set aside for teachers? Hah! The teachers in this district are doing everything they can to get out. I have never seen anything like it. If this community doesn't take heed of these warnings, our children will pay the price.
"...producing a great product" is a terrible choice of words by our District spokesperson. Our children are not products, nor is the educational process.
Thank heavens John Carson is term-limited out. His leadership (and I use the term very loosely) has been nothing short of disastrous for not just DCSD, but most importantly, our kids. Goodbye and good riddance.
I truly hope the voters have woken up to the destruction this Board has wreaked upon our kids, teachers and district and are ready to vote in 4 new people who put the kids, rather than a political agenda, first.
Personally, I can't quite get past Cinamon Watson's quote: "We’re using it wisely, and producing a great product"
I find the analogy of children as products offensive.
I am very disappointed at the changes in this article. The lack of detail is alarming. How about posting what the fund balances contain? How about letting the community know that a large portion belongs to the schools and has been set aside for the teachers? Very misleading and a disservice to the community.
Jane Reuter, I would appreciate your explanation for why you didn't just update your original story with SSC's comments under an "update" at the bottom of the story? Why did you effectively erase the prior report for this one?
It is my understanding that the DCSD credit rating was the same back in 2009 and 2010 when its reserves were at their lowest. Ms. Betz stated at the June 19th, 2012 BOE meeting that they only need to keep a $28 million fund balance in order to retain this high rating. Two board members questioned this thoroughly and Ms. Betz confirmed it. So, why is our fund balance $83 million?
A $3 annual savings (per property) does not justify all of the cuts in DCSD. My 4th grader's class has 32 kids in it and we have to fundraise in order to keep Art and Music at our school. Put money back into the classrooms!
As a teacher in DCSD, I can tell you first-hand how devastating the budget cuts have been. The education of children in Douglas County has been compromised by the fiscal mismanagement and political grandstanding of our school board. Does John Carson really expect people to be pleased that tax dollars collected for the purpose of educating children are being squirreled away in some sort of district slush fund? Our kids deserve better than this!
Douglas County citizens have the opportunity to elect four new school board members in November who will use our tax dollars the way they are intended-as an investment in the future of our children. The community can no longer afford to elect politicians to our school board who are more interested in scoring political points with their cronies than they are in educating children.
As a parent of a high schooler that is suffering from the unnecessary cuts, I am dismayed that BOE President John Carson places more value on saving tax payers approximately $3 a year than educating our children with tax dollars collected to.... educate children. Mr. Carson further uses misleading terminology when he states the savings "obviously pays huge financial dividends...." I do not share the joy in this minuscule savings to the individual taxpayer, because the cost to our children, teachers, and community are too high. I am further dismayed that our BOE hired a CFO with no financial or accounting background. I believe our children deserve better, and the management of our hard earned tax dollars collected for public schools should be used as intended... To educate, not sit in an account year after year, growing year after year.
Fitch also gave the AA+ rating to Denver School District, Boulder Valley School District, Poudre School District and Adams County School District. None of those Colorado school districts had to cut so deep from the classroom and created a huge fund balance to "ensure a credit rating that saves taxpayers money." (Quoted from John Carson)
According to Fitch Ratings, the unrestricted fund balance in DCSD’s fiscal year 2009 was $6M. In fiscal year 2011, DCSD cut $26M that “produced an operating surplus of $20M” and “resulted in ending fund balance of $80.5 million, $68 million (16% of spending) of which was unrestricted.” In fiscal year 2012, DCSD cut $10M which resulted in another large surplus of $19.8 million. “The ending unrestricted fund balance for fiscal 2012 was $86.7 million”. Again, none of the other Colorado school districts has such unreasonable cuts and large fund balance to get their AA+ ratings. I urge DCSD to follow Strong Schools Coalition’s advice of “RESTORE OUR SCHOOLS”. “DCSD did not need to cut middle and high school budgets this year – it is time to restore school budgets for the 2013-14 school year.” See detail at http://strongschoolscoalition.org/restore-our-schools/
I would like John Carson explain to my child how awesome he is at saving the taxpayers money. Then, please Mr Carson, explain to my children why class sizes are increasing, why music programs are disappearing, why teachers are leaving, why high school teachers have an increased work load. Go ahead, Mr Carson -- the children would like an explanation.
Thank you for saving me $3 a year, but the money you are hoarding in the fund balance is worth a lot more to my child. Unfortunately, I can't make up what she is missing out on with $3 a year, but you could make a big difference to her if you would better manage the money and budget properly, as opposed to "finding" money after the school year as started. Our kids only get one chance at a properly funded education. Wouldn't it be nice if those in charge made sure they are able to have one?
Thank you, DC School Board. Your efforts to save the tax payer's money and have the highest quality of education with the opportunity of choice are greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for the great article. It's nice to know that the School District is paying attention to the bond ratings and trying to keep them high and thus the interest on them low. The financial management of our district is just as important as the academics.
Everything regarding the financial management of DCSD is news worthy. Thank you Our Colorado News for providing this information to the community.
The district's bond refnanacing is simply the DCSD admin. doimg their job and nothing more. Should they do this? Yes. Is it news worthy? I think not.
"The Douglas County School District’s most recent $28.8 million bond refinancing will save taxpayers about $110,000 a year, an underwriter told the board during its Feb. 5 meeting. That amounts to about $1 per property for each of the next 17 years."
Wow - $1 per property for the next 17 years! That amounts to one glue stick every year!
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