Douglas County School District cancels classes as teachers, staff plan to protest on Thursday

Douglas County School District canceled classes for Thursday as hundreds of teachers and other staff members are calling out of work in protest of recent actions by the school board.

District buildings will still be open for a staff and teacher workday and activities, such as sports, will still take place Thursday, but students should not report for school, said spokeswoman Paula Hans in an email on Wednesday.

She said a “large number of staff” have submitted absences for tomorrow, but did not provide an exact count of how many employees have called out. Kevin DiPasquale, president of the Douglas County Federation, previously said he heard more than 900 people have requested substitutes for Thursday.

“(W)e have reached the point where the number of absences has impacted our ability to provide a safe and supervised learning environment for students,” Hans said.

Douglas County School District has more than 8,000 employees, including 3,400 classroom teachers.

The protest, which includes a rally at 1 p.m. at the district’s administration building in Castle Rock Thursday afternoon, follows allegations made by three members of the district’s Board of Education that other board members are trying to oust Superintendent Corey Wise. The board also recently voted to change the district’s equity policy, which upset employees, DiPasquale said.

The members — Elizabeth Hanson, Susan Meek and David Ray — said in a public meeting on Monday that the board’s president and vice president told Wise to resign by Wednesday or be voted out.

Mike Peterson, president of the school board, issued a statement on Tuesday, saying that any formal decision about Wise’s status with the district will take place in a public meeting.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Wise has not resigned, Hans said.

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