January 20, 2017
Director Steve Peck
Douglas County School District
Dear Director Peck,
During this week’s BoE meeting, Director Ray asked how you rationalize a ½% retention for teachers and staff while giving cabinet members a 10% retention bonus. You replied, “people at the top of any organization do deserve higher pay than the people that are entry level . . . I don’t have any heartburn at all with paying our top administrators top pay.” This comment was most unfortunate and I have heard from many of our members this week that your comment was disrespectful, hurtful and, frankly, another hit on morale.
As you must know, teachers at public schools in Colorado, by law, have to be “highly qualified.” This means they must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, have a Colorado state teaching license, and have demonstrated expertise in their content area (or grade level). Additionally, many teachers in Douglas County hold graduate degrees and most of them have hundreds of hours of specialized professional development. Your comment was directed at the very people who serve our students every day and do the hard work of educating the future generation.
On behalf of our members, I respectfully ask you to take an opportunity at the next Board meeting (preferably at the beginning) to apologize. As Director Silverthorn has acknowledged, and our 58% turnover demonstrates, morale is a big problem for DCSD. Interim-Superintendent Kane has made it her goal to improve the climate and culture within DCSD. We hope that you will take the initiative to move forward with Superintendent Kane’s efforts to build morale in the district.
According to the DCSD website, the BoE serves as a link between the school district and the community. Community members, as you know, love their teachers and have taken great offense at this comment as well. An apology is an important gesture towards your role as a board member to serve this community and foster an environment of mutual respect.