Candidates lie about school stats

Shame on the slate of School Board candidates marketing themselves as “Building Durango’s Future.”  Hill, Gulec and Paslay are trying to con you into voting for them by calling for change and falsely claiming that Durango’s schools have failed students for the past decade. This is not true. DHS placed in the top 20% of all 1,783 Colorado schools the last time CMAS tests were administered in 2018-19. Reading proficiency was in the top 10%. The percentage of students achieving proficiency in reading/language arts was 72% (much higher than the Colorado average of 47%). 

In tests this spring after missing last year due to COVID, Durango schools outperformed the state average and were well above scores in neighboring Bayfield, Ignacio, Cortez and Dolores. Niche.com ranks DHS #68 out of 445 public high schools in Colorado and #58 out of 349 best college prep high schools in the state. Greatschools.org ranks DHS above the state average in key measures of college and career readiness with a four-year graduation rate of 92% compared with the statewide average of 81%, and average SAT scores of 1053 compared with 1001 statewide. 68% of DHS graduates will pursue a college education compared with 41% statewide. 

The “Building Durango’s Future” candidates have posted on their Facebook page an article making false claims about the performance of Durango schools written by a woman who claims to have been abducted by aliens. Honestly, you could not make this stuff up. The photograph of a disheveled classroom used in that article is from Chernobyl! The rhetoric from these candidates includes anti-mask, anti-science, anti-evolution theories, and claims that church and state should not be separate. Don’t be fooled by these candidates. 

Vote for Erika Brown, Rick Petersen and Andrea Parmenter. They are the mainstream candidates endorsed by the Durango Education Association and the Durango Educational Support Professionals Association, people who really know what our school board needs to do its job successfully.

With the delta variant surging, Parmenter and Brown participated in the board’s unanimous decision to follow the science and CDC guidance by requiring masks in our schools to keep our students, teachers and staff safe so in-person learning could occur. They are seasoned professionals who have volunteered literally thousands of hours in our Durango schools and have been part of the board’s key recent accomplishments including the hiring of an excellent new superintendent and helping to pass the 2020 school bond to help fill the serious gap in state funding. Did you know that Colorado ranks last in the nation in providing teachers a competitive wage, and 45th in the percentage of taxable resources spent on education? That’s why the board worked so hard to pass the school bond so more money would be available to provide resources to our schools and to increase teacher pay.

Petersen is a new candidate for the board, running for the District C seat that was previously held by Mick Souder, who was term limited. Like Parmenter and Brown, Petersen has children in our Durango schools and has been very involved in the schools. He has also worked with Durango youth for years as a Scout leader, soccer coach and LEGO league volunteer. He will bring his leadership skills to the board and provide the solid leadership we need for our students’ success. Whether or not you have children in 9-R, it is especially important to vote in this year’s election as your vote will help determine whether our schools continue to move forward or whether they will instead be disrupted by extremist board members.

– Carol Cure, Durango