Hot Sheet

Politics of public education is percolating again in Douglas County

Author: Dan Njegomir - August 28, 2017 - Updated: August 28, 2017


Upscale and conservative Douglas County’s public schools have set the pace for education reform in recent years, developing a homegrown school-voucher program (stalled by an ongoing court challenge) and ending collective bargaining with the local teachers union.

Reform of course is in the eye of the beholder, and the changes haven’t sat well with a contingent of parents, educators and others — the unions, too, of course — who have been challenging the DougCo school district for years. That includes in school board races, and the upcoming fall election promises to be another contentious one. Things are heating up already.

Complete Colorado’s Sherrie Peif reports that a group of parents critical of the reforms and supportive of a slate of teachers union-backed school board candidates was placing leaflets on parents’ cars at a back-to-school night at elementary schools. That led to standoff with school officials:

According to Douglas County School District (DCSD) representatives, principals at two elementary schools had to call police after the political activist committee, Douglas County Parents, refused to leave the property.

The group supports the local teachers union-backed slate of Board of Education candidates.

In at least one instance, parents became hostile with the principal, officials said.

Peif notes:

School policies prohibit the distribution of non-school sponsored material without permission of the building administrator during school hours (which includes 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after start and end times) and school-sponsored events, such as back-to-school nights.

District officials said the group did not seek approval to put fliers out during the events.

The parents’ group later shot back via social media. Peif writes that one district critic posted on the Facebook page of the group Speak for DCSD:

“Principals at Sage Canyon and Flagstone called the police on parents flyering (sic) cars and exercising their constitutional rights when no educational activities were taking place and in the evening. Flyers (sic) from “both sides” have been put on cars this week at various schools with no hassle or problems. If you think Reformers are just on the board of education, think again. Some principals also support the reform agenda and will do all they can to silence parents.”

Supporters of the current board’s policies, meanwhile, have fielded their own slate of candidates. We reported on that in July.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.