CASTLE ROCK – The Douglas County School Board approved a resolution opposing Amendment 66, a nearly $1 billion income tax hike, at its Tuesday meeting. The Colorado teachers union, which is working feverishly for the public education tax, is quietly organizing another rally against the district.
“Rally 4 Teachers and Kids in Douglas County,” slated to erupt Friday afternoon in front of the school administration building, is organized by the Colorado Education Association – but the union doesn’t want anyone to know of its involvement.
“[T]he group requests no pro-union signs or clothing as the Board will use anti-union rhetoric to discredit the rally in the conservative county,” warned CEA Vice President Amie Baca-Oehlert in an email.
Baca-Oehlert encouraged teachers and education support professionals from across Colorado to bring homemade signs that say “My teacher, My Hero” or “No Bullies at School, No Bullies on Board” or “Teachers Deserve a Voice” or similar messages.
The “no bullies on board” message is aimed at anti-union school board members and candidates. CEA’s Baca-Oehlert is a former high school counselor who inspired union membership in the state’s Adams 12 Five Star Schools District.
“The teachers in Douglas County have been dismissed and treated poorly by the School Board for so long, so Douglas County parents are staging this rally to let teachers know they have support,” claimed Baca-Oehlert.
That propaganda was debunked this summer by the district’s survey of educators and parents as well as a report by the state’s education department that rated Douglas County’s teacher retention better than the Colorado average.
Contrary to union cries of a teacher boycott, the district’s turnover rate actually fell slightly from 13.2 percent to 11.7 percent – well below other districts.
“There just isn’t any question: the union doesn’t like the school board, and they tried to fan the flames of a teacher boycott,” DCSD Board President John Carson told The Colorado Observer.
This week’s planned rally is yet another skirmish in the CEA’s battle to elect four pro-union school board candidates in November.
Last week, the CEA staged several rallies to promote pro-union candidates for the school board – some documented by filmmaker Brian Malone, who with his wife Cindy owns Malone Media Group in Castle Rock.
Malone dogged the school board last year and documented his experience in a 75-minute film, “The Reformers,” which was unveiled at a screening on Sept. 3 in Parker.
The event was sponsored by Taxpayers for Public Education, a non-profit that unsuccessfully sued to derail DCSD’s voucher program. A panel of union officials and former teachers discussed Malone’s film which documented numerous school board meetings.
At an August 2012 meeting, Malone was removed after refusing to abide by media boundaries and guidelines. Charges were filed but later dropped after the CEA union and ACLU defended Malone’s constitutional right to free speech.
Our Colorado News covered the documentary screening and reported, “Despite that experience, Malone maintains he approached the project with an open mind.”
“I’m tired of all the anger; we’ve got to move above that and beyond it. This is about getting this community to stand up (and) decide what they want for their public school system,” he said. “But if this county doesn’t wake up, we’ve got a real problem.”
“Right now I’m focused on getting this film in front of as many eyeballs as possible in Douglas County before the November election,” declared Malone.
The teachers’ union rallies offer video fodder for Malone’s next documentary which may focus on the election next month when four of seven school board seats will be up for grabs.
Adding more fuel to the fire is the school board’s decision earlier this year to end the practice of using taxpayer monies to fund the local and national teachers union.