CASTLE ROCK – With four seats up for election on the Douglas County School District (Dougco) Board of Education, it appears interested parties are gearing up for something.
Although it is unclear what the motive behind a recent Colorado Open Records Act request from Douglas County Federation of Teachers (DCFT) President Kallie Leyba is, the teachers association that does not have a collective bargaining agreement with the school district does now have a lot of information about every certified and classified employee in the district.
On Aug. 10, the same day most of the district went back to school, Leyba filed an open records request for: “in a useful and searchable format, such as a spreadsheet, all current, as of Aug. 10, 2017, certified employees in Douglas County School District. In addition to full names, provide position, work location/school, hire date, salary and personal email addresses.”
Leyba requested the same information for all classified employees. Classified employees are all employees not required to hold a teaching certification.
Complete Colorado requested and received identical information to Leyba’s request. The only portion of the request not granted were the email address, which Leyba was also denied.
“Email addresses were not included in the CORA response due to privacy reasons and because DCSD does not maintain a document with all personal emails,” said Paula Hans, public information officer for Douglas County. “If an employee sends an email to a personal email address and that email is produced in a CORA request, the personal email is generally redacted for privacy reasons.”
It is likely Leyba asked for personal emails because the teachers association cannot contact employees through their work emails. The district cut ties with DCFT in September 2012. However, all four seats up for election in November are conservative seats. If even one seat is lost to a union-backed candidate, many say it is likely the new board will reinstate collective bargaining with the DCFT as well as reinstate salary schedules in favor of the current pay-for-performance model.
District policy GBEE section C-5 says it is prohibited to use district email for “use as a forum for communicating by e-mail or any other medium with other school users or outside parties to solicit, proselytize, advocate, or communicate the views of an individual or non-school sponsored organization; to solicit membership in or support of an non-school sponsored organization; to raise funds for any non -school sponsored purpose, whether profit or non-for-profit; or to engage in political activities or campaigns. No employee shall knowingly provide school e-mail addresses to outside parties whose intent is to communicate with school employees, students, and/or their families for non-school purposes. Employees who are uncertain as to whether particular activities re acceptable should seek further guidance from the building principal or other appropriated administrator.”
Historically, teachers associations hold mandatory informational meetings about their organizations at the beginning of the school year, usually on district property.
However, DCFT representatives are not allowed to distribute information about the election, the association or any other topic on Douglas County property without district permission. And those meetings have not been sanctioned by the school district since the split.
“DCSD is liable for any visitor on school property,” Hans said. “Those who do not have a relationship with a school or its students must provide notice and secure the proper permission prior to coming on to school property.”
Leyba did not return requests from Complete Colorado for comment as to what the association plans to do with the information it received.