State of the District: DougCo Schools boss to give first-ever address amid budget issues, academic successes

Erin Kane will talk about successes and challenges
Posted at 11:36 AM, May 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-02 13:36:39-04

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — On Thursday the Douglas County School District is holding its first ever State of the District event. Superintendent Erin Kane will outline the achievements and ongoing challenges for the state’s third largest school district.

Kane will be highlighting how the district spent money from a mil levy override voters passed in November. The district was able to raise teacher pay and hire more school resource officers. Voters however rejected a bond measure to pay for capital improvements and new schools. The district is facing a challenge meeting education needs in Sterling Ranch, a growing community southwest of Highlands Ranch.

“We already have enough kids in Sterling Ranch to build two schools and we don't have any elementary schools available to Sterling Ranch, so we're busing kids,” Kane said.

State of the District: DougCo Schools boss to give first-ever address amid budget issues, academic successes

In some cases elementary students are having to take a 45-minute bus ride to an overflow school in Highlands Ranch or Roxborough. But without a bond passing, the district can’t build any more schools.

At the same time, the district will soon have to decide whether to consolidate elementary schools that are facing declining enrollment because of shifting demographics. Kane said district leaders haven’t identified any specific schools yet. The hope is to come up with a list of schools next year and families would get at least 18 months’ notice if their school is merging with another.

Another ongoing challenge is hiring bus drivers. The district will lose 25 bus drivers to retirement this year, so rolling bus route cancellations will continue when the new school year starts in August. Families will get more information on their routes in May.

Kane will address these challenges at the State of the District, but will also focus on successes.

“We are now the No. 1 academic performing district in the metro area for the first time in a decade, and we're one of the only districts in the entire country, who in every subject and every grade, met or exceeded our own 2019 pre-pandemic scores,” Kane said.

Kane will also announce a partnership to study how to best use artificial intelligence in schools.

The State of the District is open to the community. It’s at 6 p.m. at the Legacy Campus in Parker. The presentation will also be available on the district’s youtube channel.