|Candidate, Douglas County School Board, District G|
|High school||Chaparral High School|
Nicholas Land ran to represent District G on the Douglas County School District Board of Education in the general election held on November 5, 2013. Land's campaign focused on teachers, pay for performance, school choice, students, financial responsibility and technology and curriculum.
Land is a 2013 graduate of Chaparral High School in Parker, Colorado. He graduated with 18 college credits through the Advanced Placement Program. Land will begin attending college at Metropolitan State University in the fall of 2013, pursuing a degree in History which he plans to use in the future as a teacher. As a high school student, Land served on the Douglas County Student Advisory Group assisting policy decisions made by the Board of Education. Extracurricular activities included work as a reporter and as business manager for The Crier, Chaparrals local newspaper as well as serving in four leadership positions with the Boy Scouts' honor society.
Land's campaign website listed the following issues for the 2013 election:
"Teachers best understand how to teach, so I value their input on district policy. Since the Teachers’ Union represents the opinions of a majority of our District’s educators, negotiations should resume with them to ensure that teachers have a voice in the direction of the district."
Pay for performance
"Measures need to be taken to ensure that teachers do not get poor ratings based on factors out of their control, such as students’ grades and test scores. Teachers should be encouraged to strive for their own education by guaranteeing that those with higher degrees will receive an increase in salary."
"I believe District money should be kept in District schools and do not personally support the voucher program. This program should be placed in a referendum to be approved or disavowed by the citizens of Douglas County."
"Students who receive their education in Douglas County today should be given the best tools they can to make informed decisions on the world of tomorrow. Class instruction time should increase, to ease the load on teachers and give students as much time as they can to grasp material."
"In accordance with the Colorado Open Records Act, all district finances and decisions should be transparent, and open to public comment and criticism. Board meetings should be open to the citizens, to ensure that their elected representatives are performing as promised. By increasing the transparency of District governance, I hope to restore public faith in our school system."
About the district The county seat is Castle Rock, named after a notable nearby butte. The district lies on the Colorado Piedmont and features woodlands and mesas.
Douglas County outperforms the rest of Colorado based on average household income, poverty rate and graduation rates in 2011. The average household income in Douglas County was $101,193 compared to $57,685 for the state of Colorado. The poverty rate in Douglas County was 3.5% compared to 12.5% for the entire state. The U.S. Census also found that 54.6% of Douglas County residents aged 25 years and older attained a bachelor's degree compared to a 36.3% in Colorado.
What was at stake?
Four seats, including that of the board president, were at stake. John Carson, the incumbent in District B, did not run for re-election. Barbra Chase Burke ran for election to the seat. Carson, who was first elected to the board in 2005, is ineligible to run for another term because of Amendment 17 to the Colorado Constitution, which says that no "elected official of any...school district....shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office."
The Republican majority on the school board, responsible for instituting merit-based pay for teachers, could have been ousted during the election.
- Two candidates, Democrat Ronda Scholting and unaffiliated Nicholas Land have already filed with the Colorado Secretary of State to challenge for Meghann Silverthorn's seat.
The board's efforts regarding education reform have in the past been controversial including a voucher program, dissolution of the teachers' union agreement and a pay-for-performance plan.
The campaign for the four seats was influenced by rival groups.
- Voices for Public Education, a locally founded group sponsored by Taxpayers for Public Education.
- DougCo Champions for Kids
- Douglas County Federation Teachers' Union
Though Colorado school boards are officially nonpartisan, Douglas County has drawn mixed reactions for board members' outward party affiliation and support. In the 2009 and 2011 elections, the Douglas County Republicans endorsed the six current members, as well as resigned seventh member Dan Gerken. District G challenger Nicholas Land criticizes the board as too loyal to the Republican Party and wants the board to represent the community as a whole more accurately.
- Nick Land for DCSD, "About," accessed July 22, 2013
- Nick Land for DCSD, "Platform," accessed July 19, 2013
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/2010census/data/. Retrieved on 8 July 2013.
- U.S. Census, "Douglas County Quick Facts, accessed July 16, 2013
- Colorado Secretary of State, “Voter Registration Numbers,” Accessed July 19, 2013
- OurLoneTreeNews.com, "School board election gearing up," July 8, 2013
- Jane Reuter, OurCastleRockNews.com, "Douglas County GOP hosts school board," January 19, 2013
- Clayton Woullard, DenverPost.com, "Douglas County teen to run for school board," June 26, 2013