The local school district is very well run and the results are outstanding. They are financially sound, and consistently rank as one of top school districts in the state. The focus is on teachers 'performance', not teachers 'unions'.
Recent CSAP results for local elementary schools put 93 % of local students above the average state scores.
The Kids Count Colorado Report ranked Douglas County # 1 place for Childhood Well-Being in the state.
We have some amazing schools, including the STEM Academy High School. (they launch rockets, write software and win awards)
Newsweek magazine's "2013 America's Best High Schools" includes both Highlands Ranch and Thunder Ridge High Schools.
After ousting the teachers union a few years ago the district implemented a 'Pay For Performance' compensation program. It encourage and rewards top performing teachers and encourages the under performers to leave the district, usually for the safety of union protected jobs elsewhere. Here's a link about the recent school reforms.
Unlike many public sector budgets, Douglas County Schools do NOT have a “use it or lose it” budget. Each school has full flexibility to spend their budgeted money where and when they choose. If they don’t use everything during a calendar year they are able to carry it over to the next year.
“In our district, the budget-holder can keep their budgeted, but unspent money year over year. They have the option to save for a large, one-time purchase,” said Douglas County Schools Superintendent Liz Fagen.
The district also supports school choice and various charter schools are available.
As a leader in real school reform, the district is producing top results in nationwide standardized testing.
A survey of Douglas County teachers in 2013 showed that 80 % 'Strongly Agree' that the school district consistently supports them. 85 % 'Strongly Agree' that overall, their school was a good place to work and learn.
The Teachers Unions is fighting to get back in and capture the millions of dollars in union dues that they have lost out on. Their tactics have been to scare parents, claiming that there is a big exodus of teachers. However, the facts show that the only teachers leaving are those who cannot handle the 'pay for performance' compensation plan. Those teachers are fleeing to the safety of school districts that have union protection and tenure, regardless of their performance or ability to teach. Only the best, top performing teachers remain in Douglas County.