Douglas County Approves School Voucher Program

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- The Douglas County School Board approved a plan Tuesday night to bring vouchers to the district. It will begin with a pilot program for the 2011-2012 school year.

The controversial proposal drew hundreds of people to public meetings during the past week.

“The board of education has indicated that they thoroughly believe choice will enhance innovation and competition which will improve all of our schools,” said Douglas County Schools Spokeswoman Susan Meek.

“I don’t understand why the board, who should be stewards of our public education have gone this direction. I believe they have ignored the major issue that faces our school district as well as every other district in the state of Colorado. And that’s funding,” said parent Cindy Barnard.

The school voucher plan will give parents a check to pay for a private school of their choice. The amount will be equal to that school’s tuition or 75 percent of Douglas County’s per pupil funding, about $4,500. The remaining 25 percent would stay in the district.

  • communications

    Please see the details of the entire Douglas County Strategic Plan for change – including the Blueprint for Choice on the DCSD website. The Scholarship program is one part of the comprehensive Blueprint for Choice in the District. Douglas County has a tradition of innovation – this plan demonstrates a commitment to both innovation and excellence going forward.

  • JL

    This is a tragic day for the neighborhood schools in Douglas County. In this day of severe budget cuts for schools, now the district is taking our tax money to fund private religious education? Fight back, stop the vouchers. Get involved in Douglas County, because this will effect all schools in our state.

    • pgdn

      “this will effect all schools in our state” – i hate to be a word nazi but private school taught me the proper use between “effect” and “affect.”

    • DouglasCounty Divas

      We all pay taxes … and on top of that I pay for private school. So, it thrills me that I am finally not having to “double pay” so that my child can learn about Jesus and go to a top knotch school! Yippee!

  • H

    This news is great, finally the teacher’s union won’t have a monopoly over education in Douglas County. I wonder if they can compete…

  • A.W.

    It works in Florida just fine, and it creates healthy competition in the public school sector.
    JL, maybe your public school was sufficient for you but in my private school, I learned the difference between “effect” and “affect”….. ;-)

  • Marne Hansen

    Please report WHY it’s controversial. Present both sides. I oppose it. Here’s why: With the current school budget crisis at the state and district level, it is irresponsible to pull more money away from the public neighborhood schools. And even with much opposition, the board simply looked the other way and stuck with what appeared to be a political agenda from the jump. Makes one feel like the board is not really looking out for our existing (great but financially struggling) schools.

    • A.A. Cunningham

      The fact is that private schools provide a superior education for less money per pupil than government educrats can. If you are consistent then you should also be opposed to the GI Bill. Are you? Opponents of vouchers need to explain why, even though K-12 spending has been dramatically increased in the past decade; Amendment 23, Ref C, stimulus funds, local bonds, Ritter’s “fee”/tax increases, that 85% of school district budgets – compensation – has not been adjusted downward. Every time school boards want the net taxpayer to ante up more money to the net tax receiver – public sector employees – they always line their own nests first before they take care of their customers – in this case students. Most of us in the private sector have had our benefits and pay reduced during this recession and it’s long past time that educrats; who are very well compensated for 180 days of work a year, do the same.

      • MH

        Instead of going out and reading a study or looking at a corporation, I actually participate at my kids’ schools. I have been a member of the Accountability Committee for 8 years. For the past three years, our principal and SAC have dealt with massive budget cuts. This year is really grim. Add to it the money the voucher program will pull out of classrooms, and it’s downright dismal. It negatively effects kids. And teachers. I think the timing is irresponsible, regardless of what those “in the private sector” think. To put this program into effect right now, in these economic times is sending a message to the public school kids, families, and teachers that they don’t really count for much in the eyes of this BOE. Schools do not have an “agenda” to rape the taxpayer. Public Schools have a responsibility to meet the needs of every student in a community, and they don’t all come in a pretty little package.

  • tom

    Wow, the teacher unions really have some people convinced that competition is bad.

    • pgdn

      here here! wisconsin left a foul taste in my mouth. so much so that i plan on a different direction for both my children sooner than previous planned.

  • Bruce Baker

    Why could we get acceptable results 100 years ago for grades 1 – 8 with one teacher for all grades and a budget of $5 per pupil per year? The teachers, students and parents were motivated and knew the value of education. Our present system rewards mediocrity and does not remove disruptive students.
    This change was long overdue.

  • Bret

    To all of you opponents who base your objection on money- if a 200 child school loses 50 kdis to the voucher program, but leaves 25% of the per pupil funding, the funding per pupil still in that school INCREASES by 8%. Doesn’t this satisfy your request for more money for schools? Sounds simplistic, so where am I wrong? Also, hasn’t competition in our system given us better products and services? Would our colleges be better or worse if a government monopoly controlled them? As you can tell, I’m a proponent of the system and no fan of the union stranglehold on our education system, but what I just wrote it emperical data and FACT not opinion based on emotion. If my facts are wrong, omeone enlighten me please. Otherwise, honeslty explain to me what the real root of your objections are, please.

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