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Drama with Douglas County school board prompts some families to leave district

Multiple families told 9NEWS they are enrolling their kids in nearby school districts as they fear politics are taking away from their students' educations.

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — Some parents say the chaos and drama surrounding the Douglas County School District is prompting them to leave the district. Many families are exploring the option to open enroll their children in schools in Cherry Creek, Littleton and Arapahoe County. 

Stacey and Jack Chamaty from Castle Rock have lived in Douglas County since 2007. They made the choice to live in the area because at the time, the reputation of the district was that it was the "best of the best" in the area. Their oldest son started in DCSD in 2009 as a kindergartener.

Only a few years later, they became dissatisfied with the direction of the district. Their son and daughter are only four years apart, but they saw many teachers choose to leave the district. In their time attending the same schools, their younger daughter never had the same teacher as their son -- a sign they believe only indicated the beginning of the issue.

They closely watched the November 2021 school board election results. 

"On election night, we said, 'This is it. Goodbye Douglas County School District. That’s the final nail in your coffin. You’re done,'" Stacey said. 

Shortly thereafter, they open enrolled their daughter in Littleton Public Schools. Next year, they plan to drive their daughter 45 minutes to school and 45 minutes back to ensure she is in a district that they believe puts education above politics. 

"It’s not like we are pulling her away from her friends in the district. We are still going to live here," Jack said. "We are just going to drive 45 minutes, which so what, it’s worth it."

Their decision came over concern over the future of the district when the conservative-majority school board was voted in. When the board voted to terminate former Superintendent Corey Wise, they felt confirmation they made the right decision. 

"The only thing keeping me sane watching this is knowing that our daughter doesn’t have to go to school here anymore," Stacey said.

Other families have made the same choice. Stephanie Chancy and her husband have open enrolled their two daughters in Littleton as well. They made the decision after Wise was fired without cause

"At some point, you just have to look at your best interest for your family. Right now, this has been what the best interest is for our kids," Stephanie said.

She worries about what kind of education her daughters may receive as the board funnels money into other causes. Right now, the board is faced with paying Wise's contract, legal fees from a lawsuit about the termination, as well as the search for a new superintendent.

"I just don't want it to affect my kids' education anymore. It's just gotten to a point where it's like, okay, we need to make a decision because the money that they're wasting in our school district is really funneling down to affect our kids," Stephanie said. 

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