CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (KDVR) — Three Douglas County school board members said their newly minted board president wants to oust the district’s superintendent. It’s a move they say blindsided them.
Three school board members who were on the Douglas County Board of Education prior to the 2020 election cycle held a meeting Monday night, saying the board’s four new, conservative-aligning members broke state law in an effort to get rid of the district’s superintendent, Corey Wise.
“They have collectively decided they need to take the district in a new direction in regard to leadership,” District C’s Elizabeth Hanson said.
“(Board President) Mike (Peterson) and (Vice President) Christy (Williams) met with Corey Friday morning, that same morning we were talking, and asked him about his retirement plan and whether he would consider moving it up given that four of the directors made a decision to go in a different direction,” District A’s Susan Meek said.
The three members said these conversations about the superintendent’s position are a violation of the state’s open meetings law, saying any public business that is discussed or any formal actions taken need to happen in public meetings. It left has the local teacher’s union concerned.
“What do they stand for? Apparently, it’s not transparency,” Douglas County Federation Local 2265 President Kevin DiPasquale said. “They’re making decisions behind closed doors with their private lawyer, not including internal legal and minority board members. So we as an organization are trying to figure what’s going on and how much we need to be worried about our students and staff alike.”
In a statement, Peterson responded.
“I am committed, and will continue to be committed, to respecting staff privacy when dealing with sensitive employment situations,” Peterson said. “This is true for any staff member in the Douglas County School District — and especially true for our superintendent. Any formal decision regarding our superintendent’s employment status will take place during a public meeting, as required by law.
“There has been no action taken on the superintendent’s contract or employment status. Last week’s conversation was to provide our superintendent with information needed to participate in an ongoing discussion. I will continue to engage all board directors on this matter.
“I am committed to honoring our superintendent’s legacy and service to our school district.
“My hope is that our focus remains on our students and keeping them in the classroom, even in the midst of this personnel matter.
“It is time to return to academic excellence for each of our 64,000 students, continue forward with the proposed compensation system, and identify common ground in partnership with our students, staff, families, and community.”Mike Peterson, DCSD Board of Education President
The Douglas Federation of Teachers plans to rally Thursday afternoon in support of open-meetings laws and to request more transparency from the school board. They say more than 800 requests for substitute teachers have been submitted for that day.