Roundup of this week's letters on the Douglas County School Board race

Posted 10/26/17

A crucial vote against reforms

I moved to Douglas County 10 years ago when my sons were babies, specifically for the vibrant, beloved, top-ranked schools. I am a former teacher, charter and …

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Roundup of this week's letters on the Douglas County School Board race


A crucial vote against reforms

I moved to Douglas County 10 years ago when my sons were babies, specifically for the vibrant, beloved, top-ranked schools. I am a former teacher, charter and neighborhood school mom who never paid much attention to school board elections until my children entered school. I have now spent six years closely following the "reform" school board members, and have despaired watching them waste millions of taxpayer dollars, destroy parent and teacher trust, ignore community input and implement policies that have contributed to the decline in student academic performance.

I implore you, for all children and our property values, to choose the candidates that have years of education experience, thoroughly understand the issues, and have been clear about how they will restore fiscal responsibility, superior academic standing and transparency to our district. Please take a moment to place a very important vote for Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung, and Schor for DCSD Board.

Kelly Allan

Highlands Ranch

Don't let outsiders control schools

Who owns our children? Parents and families or Washington, D.C.-based teachers' unions? This is one of the riveting questions in the DougCo School Board election. Last week, campaign finance reports revealed that the American Federation of Teachers union dumped at least $300,000 into this election to try to thwart the success of the Elevate Douglas County School Board slate: Randy Mills, Ryan Abresch, Debora Scheffel and Grant Nelson. Wow! Why?

As moms and dads, we should be very concerned that Randy, Ryan, Debora and Grant's union-supported competitors seldom talk about the role of families and parents in our children's education. As a community, we should be very concerned that a Washington, D.C.-based union wants to gain control of the DougCo School Board. I'm voting for the slate that believes parents play a vital role in our kid's education. I'm voting for Randy, Ryan, Debora and Grant.

Amy Byczkowski


It's complicated; choose Elevate

A recent trend in the DCSD school board election should be called to the attention of voters. Campaign fliers and car window paintings claim one slate of candidates as the "good guys." Unfortunately, this black and white thinking is exactly the thinking that has driven a wedge in our community on questions of education.

Education is, in reality, more more complex than "good v bad." Children learn differently, families consider educational options differently and many opinions abound. The Elevate slate of Mills, Abresch, Nelson and Scheffel has branded themselves as they have in an effort to move beyond childish labels. Questions of education are too important for such thinking.

Support the Elevate slate to move forward.

Roger Bianco

Castle Pines

What about vouchers?

Each school board candidate should be asked if he or she supports continuing efforts to promote unconstitutional voucher programs for our district, which would drain funds from the traditional methods of providing a good education for all, regardless of parental income levels. 

Dr. Herman Anderson

Castle Rock

They're kids, not commodities

Douglas County was a destination school district, accredited with distinction. Now, we have 11 schools on improvement plans, falling test scores and record teacher turnover. Something precious, a source of community pride, is disappearing. 

Reformers are building a system that ruthlessly drains the energy and economic resources from our public schools, dividing our community's parents, educators and students. The degradation of our public schools will drive families to costlier private options, a scheme to enrich a few at great cost to so many of us.  It's a crime against logic and our children. Our classrooms are not markets of financial gain. Our children are not commodities. 

Our hope lies in a critical public seeing through propaganda. Neighborhood schools are a cornerstone of American life, where communities unite, where students discover their talents, where citizens are made. 

Vote for the shared future of a proud community. Vote Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor.  

Lena Brown

Unincorporated Douglas County

The only real choice

Henry Ford's famous quote, "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black" seems to be mindset of the Community Dream Team slate for DougCo school board. They say they are for school choice, however they want to dictate which choices are available to parents, kids and families. Seems a bit disingenuous to me. 

That is why I am voting for the ELEVATE DougCo School Board slate of Randy Mills, Ryan Abresch, Debora Scheffel and Grant Nelson. They realize each child is unique and learns differently. Randy, Ryan, Debora and Grant understand that parents and families know their children best and make the best decisions for their kid's education.

ELEVATE'S opponents are adamantly opposed to a scholarship program that would empower families to use a portion of per-pupil funding for nonpublic schools.  

Limiting choices is no choice at all.

Bill Denny


Elevate will end chaos

Our amazing school district has long been recognized for empowering parents through school choice. Recently, the Washington, D.C.-based AFT teacher's union, who does not share this vision of parent empowerment and choice in education, injected hundreds of thousands of dollars into our county, soliciting votes for union friendly candidates.

I am tired of the lies and chaos resulting from such outside influence by groups that do not have our district's best interest at heart. I will be voting for the Elevate slate - Nelson, Abresch, Mills and Scheffel - because I know that they absolutely support parent empowerment and school choice. They will eliminate the chaos and restore a focus on the students in this district by offering support to our wonderful educators and expanding educational options important in today's world, including vocational training. Vote Elevate!

Laura Jensen


There are real differences

While reading the article on the interviews for our Douglas County School Board, I noticed two distinct differences between the candidates. All four of those candidates supported by Elevate Douglas County, supported vouchers, cleverly termed "scholarships," for private schools. Let's be clear. All the candidates support school choice and charter schools. Anthony Graziano, Chris Schor, Kevin Leung and Krista Holtzmann simply do not want our public tax money going to private schools. Not supporting the voucher system does not mean you are against school choice.

In addition, those supported by EDC called teacher unions "outside influences." Quite the contrary, the Douglas County Federation of Teachers was a model of cooperation with the school board. Only when they objected to extreme policies, did the board dissolve their contract. Teacher associations are not the enemy. It is the teacher associations who negotiated for livable wages, benefits and job security for our teachers.

Jim Cronin


Put focus on kids, teachers

I am a Castle Rock dad with two kids at CVHS. Douglas County voters, even without kids, should fully participate in the upcoming school board elections.  

There's too much at stake not to care - what could be more important to our community or our future than our public education program. For any homeowner, our district's performance has a pronounced impact on property values as well and this shouldn't be lost on any of our residents.  

Every homeowner should ask themselves if home values will be as competitive as they should be based on current trends.Before all the "reforms" to the district, we consistently ranked first or second compared with JeffCo, Cherry Creek and Littleton in all subjects grades 3-8 and now we're ranked third or fourth almost across the board.

Bring the focus back to students and our educators. Vote for schools. Vote for Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor.  

Roger J. Davis

Castle Rock

A prescription for success

Does this Douglas County School Board Election matter, now, or in the long run? Has not the education pendulum nearly swung off its rocker? What is the Rx for a traditionally conservative Douglas County?

"The Naked Communist" by Cleon Skousen, ex-FBI agent, published in 1958, documented 45 then-current communist goals.By 2017, most had been accomplished perniciously. Here is just the preview:

Communist Goal #17: "Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations.  Put the party line in textbooks."

Best preventative Rx:  ElectElevate Douglas County school board candidates, including: Randy Mills, Ryan Abresch, Debora Scheffel and Grant Nelson.

Enough of the school unions' lock-step control. Enough of the out-of-state money and influence in this election. Return our school board control to local, straight-thinking people who represent the independent voices so needed today.

Steven Newell

Lone Tree

Tax hike? No thanks

We want it, we think we need it, so give it to us!  This is the carte blanche tax increase mantra of the Community Dream Team slate for the DougCo School Board election. Every member of this slate is on record that they'll present each hard working taxpayer in Douglas County with a big request for a big tax increase. Ugh!

As a hardworking taxpayer in Douglas County, I'm voting for the ELEVATE DougCo School Board slate of RANDY Mills, RYAN Abresch, DEBORA Scheffel & GRANT Nelson. I'm assured that they will take a thorough & deliberative approach to our district's finances, provide transparency of income & expenditures and work to gain our community's trust regarding DougCo's $626 million budget. I know they'll improve efficiencies, tighten belts and look under the sofa cushions before they ask me if I want to increase my taxes.  

Vote Randy, Ryan, Debora and Grant.

Mary Parker

Highlands Ranch

We need fresh ideas

I keep seeing letters supporting one slate of candidates claiming that we need "fresh faces" on the school board. Don't forget that no incumbents are running. All eight candidates are fresh faces. But we need more than fresh faces. We need fresh ideas, fresh perspectives and a fresh focus on kids. The past eight years haven't been good for our schools or our community, and the last thing we need is "fresh faces" who support the same failing policies.

We need the fresh ideas and fresh focus that Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung and Chris Schor will bring.

Amy Fain

Highlands Ranch

Save our schools

If the Elevate slate is elected, it will be the nail in the coffin for Douglas County School District. There will be no funding to repair our aging schools and no way to retain teachers. Many informed parents and community members believe that continuing to allow new schools to open in areas that already have more seats than kids will cause existing schools to close. Choices will diminish. We can't let that happen. Vote Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor to save our schools.

Amy McDowell

Highlands Ranch

It's an easy choice

I just wanted to thankdouglaskids.comfor doing the bidding for teachers unions. They are making it very easy on who not to vote for. I for one believe in educational choice, which the unions are staunchly against, even if it means less quality education for our children. They want their monopoly and they will do anything to get it and hold it. The car painting gives me a nice friendly reminder of who not to vote for. I am tired of the teachers unions hijacking school boards by flat out lying to push their agendas. Jefferson county is a prime example.

Justin C. Smith

Highlands Ranch

Best choice for community

Recent outrage at money being donated to an Independent Expenditure Committee (IEC) is hypocritical. Facts being left out of this fabricated narrative:

1. Money from outside interests did not go directly to any candidate.

2. An IEC supports the reform slate.The same big money donors are still donating to reformers.Plus the ever present Americans for

3. Outside money is now an issue for reform supporters, but outside money has supported reform since 2009.

Despite this fake outrage, realities remain the same locally. Declining performance from reform policies implemented, lack of funding to pay our teachers and aging infrastructure impacting safety in our schools. One slate has a plan to address these issues. They're
not concerned about the DeVos agenda, but our children. Please vote for Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung and Chris Schor. Our commUNITY will be better for it!

Stephanie Van Zante

Don't let name fool you

Don't be fooled! In this school board election, the reform slate is not using the word reform. Why? Reform is destructive and the slate hopes you don't know "elevate" means "reform."

FACT: Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor support charters and neighborhood schools equally with a promise to fund charters with 100 percent pass-through revenue and an equal share of MLO dollars.

FACT: The reform/Elevate candidates support vouchers. Vouchers would pull dollars from every school in the District. Not just neighborhood schools; charters would be gutted too.

Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor promise to put kids first: they will prioritize funding in the classroom, return to research-based educational practices, restore trust between the board and our community, and support the funding of long-overdue capital projects that have put our children's education at risk.

Don't be fooled. Vote Graziano, Holtzmann, Leung and Schor!

Jeanne Work Swaim

Highlands Ranch

Choose kids over a crusade

I taught in the Douglas County Schools for 25 years before retiring last year. During that time, I watched as a school district once acclaimed as the best in state suffered through a period of turmoil and decline. Students, parents, teachers and administrators alike chafed under a reform program that was imposed by an agenda-driven school board. Teachers lost the freedom to control their own lessons; principals lost the freedom to lead and evaluate their staff as they saw fit. Parents were ignored. And students suffered as some of the best teachers and administrators in the state left in droves.

It's time to place kids and community over ideologically driven crusades. It's time to choose a school board that is once again dedicated to providing a high-quality public education to all the students of this county. It's time to vote for Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung and Chris Schor.

Rick Young

Castle Rock


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