On May 14, 2012, James Candelaria, parent of a DHS student filed a 47-page complaint and notice of claim to School District 9-R regarding the DHS Volleyball program. Click here to read the full compliant (names of DHS students have been redacted along with personal information. To save space a listing of CHSAA rules were also omitted but are available from the School District).
Click here to see Student Fee Policy proposal submitted to School District 9-R administration and school board.
Durango School District 9-R will host the
annual Budget Work Session on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00
p.m. in the auditorium at Miller Middle School.
Community members are invited to join and provide ideas and input as to
the 2012-13 budget.
Of particular interest are fees that charged to 9-R students by schools. As noted in the Durango Herald Article (February 7, 2012), student fees for everything from registration to parking to sports "have flown under the radar without going through a formal vetting process" by the School Board. It's a practice that is contrary to Colorado Law. In some instances there have been no proper accounting for fees collected from students and how they have been spent.
Credit should be given to interim Superintendent Bill Esterbrook and his staff for finally bringing these issues before the public. Community input matters. Please attend this meeting to learn about student fees and give input to the school district.
On January 2, 2012, Durango School District 9-R adopted a "Protected Disclosure Policy" that prohibits and will not tolerate any form of reprisal, retaliation or discrimination against any employee, student, parent, volunteer, or community member who, in good faith, has reported or intends to report a violation of federal, state, local law, or district policy.
This policy is to encourate individuals to report suspected incidents of unlawful activities without fear of retaliation. Unlawful activities includes violations of 9-R's own policies and regulations. Such reports will be investigated thoroughly and promptly with remedies applied for any unlawful practices. Reasonable district protections will be provided to those individuals who, in good faith, report suspected incidents and/or assist the district with investigations.
This new policy was developed, in part, because of the acts of retribution facilitated by the DHS administration against those of us who have reported abuses, especially in the Athletic Department. It should also be noted that the policy applies whether retribution is intentional or by negligence. The idea is that staff can no longer be let off the hook because they made a "mistake" - the most common copout to malfeasance.
Kudos to interim Superintendent Bill Esterbrook and his staff for the time and effort it took to research and develop this policy... And for sending a message to 9-R staff that taking revenge and retribution against community members who accurately report malfeasance will not be tolerated.
On November 15, 2011 a proposal was submitted to the School Board requesting that policies be developed to regulate how/when school district staff can charge fees to studends (Click here to see proposal). The purpose of this proposal is to prevevent financial abuse of students through extra fees whethe the practice is on purpose, by mistake, or by tradition.
(October 18, 2011) The School District 9-R Board of Education discussed developing a policy or administrative regulation regarding “Public Discovery / Full Disclosure.” The concept is to develop a system that will discourage retribution against a person who identifies and reports any malfeasance, policy violations, or major errors in the school system.
Interim Superintendent Bill Esterbrook, reported that his staff was researching existing policies at other school districts. There are also legal issues involved that will require research before an official policy can be introduced and voted upon.
Whatever the final outcome, each board member present voiced sincere concern that there is a need for the public and 9-R staff be protected from retribution.
In this author's opion, it will require much more than a policy of “Full Disclosure.” The most important factor will be the character at the top of the staffing charts, especially the Superintendent, principals, and key administrators – leadership by example. I am encouraged 9-R is on that path. Check back to find out if any official action takes place at future school board meetings.