DougCo school board directs superintendent to implement equity policy

Suzie Glassman

By Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) All seven Douglas County school board members agreed this week that questions surrounding changes to the district’s equity policy are about implementation and interpretation, not whether it needs to be thrown out or dramatically changed.

Last January, the board approved a resolution by 4-3 asking Kane to “recommend potential changes to Board Policy ADB and related implementation consistent with the principles set out above and the School District’s Mission, Vision, and End Statements by September 1.”

This week, Kane asked to extend that deadline to March 31, 2023. She proposed engaging with stakeholders to understand what they want to see happen with the policy, their fears and their questions.

Problems with resolution

Director David Ray believes the resolution is a giant distraction. He said it’s not Kane’s job to write policy. It’s her job to interpret the board’s policy and recommend ways to monitor its implementation.

“I think the resolution has put you in a very difficult position,” said Ray. “It’s such a hot topic. It was certainly a topic our former superintendent felt was the reason he was terminated without cause. It was a topic that the majority of our building leaders said, ‘please just keep the policy as stated and do not change it.’”

Ray also mentioned Kane asked for a waiver from the policy in her former charter school executive director role, which puts her in an awkward spot.

Board President Mike Peterson agreed that it’s Kane’s job to figure out the best way to implement the policy and believes her engagement plan will help her do that.

“It’s not the policy itself but the implementation that’s the problem. As I’ve talked to different groups, there’s a lot of alignment on what people hope to achieve,” said Peterson.

“Where I’ve seen friction in our community is around fears of what will or won’t happen. I’ve heard from the podium that you want to cancel Black history. I don’t think that’s a desire of this board.”

Peterson said, “If the implementation doesn’t meet the intent of the policy, it could be on the superintendent for not complying with the intent or it could be on the board for not providing clarity for her to align with the policy. How do we measure and monitor the success?”

Director Elizabeth Hansen urged Kane to honor the years of effort that went into writing the policy.

Kane agreed, saying this is step two. “We have a broad policy. Now the question is how to narrow it down to the implementation and the metrics that will define success.”

The board will vote on whether to approve Kane’s extension request at the next board meeting on Sept. 27.

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