Steffan Tubbs Show, George Brauchler, April 24, 2018

Station:    KNUS, 710 am

Guests:    Brauchler


Date:        April 24, 2018

Topics:     Teacher Walkout, Douglas County School District, Salary Increases, Cancelled Classes, Letter from Superintendent,

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HOST STEFFAN TUBBS: [00:00:00] Is he going to disagree with me? If so, we need to have ‘dump’ button ready. My longtime friend, George Brauchler, who is currently running for attorney general. And by the way, he’s not telling me to say that. [He] should still be running for governor, but–. Hello, George! [laughs]


TUBBS: [00:00:19] Good. Bring it on, baby!

BRAUCHLER: [00:00:22] Look I’m not — the thing is, I’m not here to disagree with you. I’m here. I’m listening, as I always do when I’m driving, you know, to a go to a kids’ thing in the afternoon. I’ve got you on.

TUBBS: [00:00:30] Thank you.

BRAUCHLER: [00:00:30] And I hear you talking about this, and I’m like, “Oh, my goodness! I feel exactly the same way!”.

TUBBS: [00:00:37] Whoa!

BRAUCHLER: [00:00:37] When I got this e-mail from Douglas County yesterday — Sunday. Sunday! — at like 4:10 p.m.

TUBBS: [00:00:44] Right!

BRAUCHLER: [00:00:44] It said, “Hey everybody we’re going to have to — you get three days advance notice to figure out what to do with your four kids in public school because we’ve got a bunch of teachers who have decided to pick that Thursday.” Now, let me tell you what infuriates me. And you’ve hit upon all the right things. Do you remember that Friday was an in-service day for the teachers?. The kids had no school in Douglas County this past Friday because it was an in-service day.

TUBBS: [00:01:08] Correct.

BRAUCHLER: [00:01:08] So, you know, color me confused, but if you’re going to walk out in protest, why not pick a day that only inconveniences you, instead of the kids and me?

TUBBS: [00:01:17] Because that’s not how it working. Right. Right!

BRAUCHLER: [00:01:21] Well that’s outrageous! So, I mean, look, I love my kids’ teachers. I mean, I go to the parent teacher conferences. I go to the school any time I get a chance. I love these folks. I think they’re hardworking and frankly, — you know this — but they’re going to launch a ballot measure this year in our county — your and my county — to increase the Mill Levy, to do an exemption from the mill levy limitation so that they can pay teachers more. And I’ll be honest, in my mind, up until this point, I was like, “You know what? I would give that strong consideration, because I want to have the best of the best, I love these teachers. I think they work rea–.” And then this thing happens, and it was like someone flipped the light switch, buddy. And I’m like, “Are you kidding me?”

TUBBS: [00:01:57] Let me tell you, George, [do] you know what what I think this is? And to me, this is — they’re not flipping the light switch. They’re flipping us the bird. That’s what I don’t like.

BRAUCHLER: [00:02:08] Not.

TUBBS: [00:02:09] And I’m telling you again, I just — because I know there are teachers listening that are like, “You guys don’t understand! You’re misinformed! Every one of you at KNUS and all of these media people, you think that you’re you’re on top of this, –.” This is this — is not the right way to do it, in my estimation. And I don’t know if I could get an e-mail or a phone call that would convince me otherwise. This is — this is flipping the bird to parents and it’s — I’m sorry, this sounds dramatic but I’m emotional about it. The kids, right now, and families in all of these counties where these school districts are going to be closed were just — the parents are collateral damage. The kids don’t care. It’s the parents that obviously are going to be inconvenienced the most, in most cases.

BRAUCHLER: [00:02:57] You’re talking to one. And I know you’re one too. Look, I loved Joanne’s e-mail. I didn’t agree with 100% of it, but I loved — it did tell me some things I didn’t know. But here are the questions [that] any parent in Douglas County ought to be asking. And that is: one, when did this start to get planned to get underway? I mean, were these guys completely shocked by the fact that on Saturday they had a bunch of people call in sick? If so, what kind of leadership is that that you don’t know what’s coming down the road when the rest of the school districts surrounding you are canceling school for these walkouts, too? Why couldn’t it be on Friday? I need a teacher from Douglas County to call in to your show and explain why it made more sense to cancel it on a Thursday, when parents had to scramble, than it did on a Friday for an in-service day that had been planned since the beginning of the school year. Someone’s got to explain that. And then I really do want to know: were these people required to take leave? Were they required to take leave? So, if a teacher says, “Hey I don’t want to protest. I just want to come in to school and teach.” Do they have to take a day off? Here’s why I think the answer is ‘no’: because I know that one of my daughter’s teachers in high school — out here in Douglas County — is still going to have class — voluntary, kids can come in, get extra credit, can work towards the test that they’re going to take. And I thought, “That teacher, right there, that teacher has guts. I respect them. And that’s the reason I would vote for increased pay.” But if you’re going to cancel out on my kids and your kids, and show up at the gold dome for a couple hours to protest money that, by the way, the state doesn’t even provide us. We — you and I, as taxpayers in Douglas County — have more impact over their pay than the state does. If they’re going to make that choice to inconvenience you, me, and my kids, you just lost me, man. And when are they going to make up the school day? Are they going to extend the school year to make –, or are they going to treat it like, “Well, we’ll treat it like a ‘political snow day.’ I mean, how do we get this day back for our kids?

TUBBS: [00:04:37] Yeah, I think it’s the latter, George. And I want to read to you — and George Brauchler is our guest, a 710 KNUS listener. Appreciate that.

BRAUCHLER: [00:04:44] All the time.

TUBBS: [00:04:44] So, this is from the interim superintendent in Douglas County. OK? And it came to us yesterday [at] 4:06 p.m. to back what George is saying. [reading the Superintendent’s correspondence on air] “Dear Douglas County School District families, I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. I had the privilege of atten–blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. As you may be aware, teachers across Colorado are attending rallies at the state capitol later this week to call for increased education funding. Many districts decided late last week to close school on either Thursday April 26th, or Friday April 27th. We’ve been monitoring time off requests carefully over the last few days. Yesterday, requests increased significantly,” — so to George’s point, on Saturday, this past weekend — “such that there are not enough substitutes in the system to cover all classrooms across our district.” And this is in bold type.”As a result, our neighborhood, magnet, and alternative schools will be closed Thursday, April 26. District charter schools, who manage their own staffing, will remain open, operating on a normal schedule. Please look for communication from your school. Please know that this is not a decision we take lightly and we recognize that this presents challenges for many of our families. However, with over 500 of our educators out, we will simply not be able to provide a safe and effective learning environment for all our students. While many schools will not have students on Thursday, April 26th, it remains an official workday. So any staff members who wish to take the day off must use personal leave. Because we have not had any full snow days this year, there will not be any need to make up the lost school day.”


BRAUCHLER: [00:06:25] [laughs weirdly]

TUBBS: [00:06:25] [continuing to read] Please know that we value all your fantastic DCSD educators in all our schools. The district and the Board of Education have been working hard over the last year to engage in conversation. Blah blah blah. If you have any questions about how this closure impacts your student please don’t contact me, Erin Kane. Please reach out to your principal.” Uh, she didn’t say, “Please don’t contact me,” but says, “Reach out to your school’s principal.” Meantime, the principals are going, “I don’t know what to say! This is my staf!”

BRAUCHLER: [00:06:53] Here is the other thing! Have you ever worked for a business like this where you have a vacation day and you can give notice like three days in advance, “Hey, by the way, I’m taking this day off. And if it impedes the mission of your business, too bad, so sad,. I’m going to do it!” I mean, there’s only one time that happens, and that’s when you’re sick. Right? When you’re sick, that can’t be planned for that. I get it. I understand. But you’re telling me five hundred people pop smoke on the same day and announce, “By the way, we’re going to cripple the school district by not showing up on Thursday,” and the employer is powerless to say, “I don’t approve your leave. You didn’t give me enough advance notice.” Are you telling me our school district says, “You can announce up until the second before you leave you want to take off and we can’t do anything?” That seems like a pretty silly system. It makes me wonder if the superintendent and the school board aren’t like, “Yes, we agree with this cause. So, we’ll make them take leave, but we’re not going to push back.”.

TUBBS: [00:07:46] Oh, yes!

BRAUCHLER: [00:07:46] When do you get to deny people leave?

TUBBS: [00:07:48] Of course! I totally agree with that last — the last sentiment. That’s exactly how it is. You know? And again, to me, the bottom line is, it’s the inconveniencing of parents, especially those — and you still have small kids. They’re not driving themselves to school. For me, it’s not that big of a deal. I’ve got almost a 15-year-old and almost an 18-year-old, so it’s a little bit different. But I do think about those parents that have an 8-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 12-year-old that –they’re not old enough to stay home alone! Or, you know, how many parents — we’ll never know this, George –but how many parents are going to be forced this week to make the decision that maybe this is the first time that junior stays home alone? All because –all because –. I don’t know.

BRAUCHLER: [00:08:39] Oh, yeah. Yeah.

TUBBS: [00:08:39] I just infuriates me. And if you’re an educator, try to — and this is not challenging you. Please try to explain it to me, and guys like George Brauchler, who’s running for Attorney General. Explain where this makes sense on Thursday. And don’t tell me it’s not about the money. Because it’s about the money.

BRAUCHLER: [00:08:59] Yeah, and the — by the way, this has nothing to do with the AG thing. Listen, I’m a — my four kids go to public school, all right?

TUBBS: [00:09:05] Right.

BRAUCHLER: [00:09:05] I’m not one of these candidates that can afford to send my kids to private school and then talk about how we need to improve public school. I need it to be awesome right now. So that’s why this matters to me. But I need to hear someone explain to me — someone who is inconveniencing me and my wife and kicking our kids out of school for a day — I need to hear why that was so important it had to be Thursday, instead of on Friday, a day set you had set aside for you. And that’s why does that make sense?

TUBBS: [00:09:30] And your your example is — George is exactly right. Friday there was no school in Douglas County — this past Friday. They could do it — again, George, I’m telling you, they could do it in 40 days [when] school is out. They could do it on Saturday. They’d get — they’d get media coverage, because God knows, there’s nothing that happens usually on the weekends. So they get all the TV cameras. They get all of that. Oh, and then, oh, maybe there’s the excuse, “Well, then the legislators wouldn’t be there.” It’s not going to matter! That’s the other thing. This will not matter! This will not matter! What they’re doing –.

BRAUCHLER: [00:10:08] Well, I want to know what the legislation is that’s pending, that they think they’re going to influence. I’ll give them this: forty days from now, the legislature is not in, okay. Even though you and I know that it isn’t going to make a difference. I understand that argument. I don’t understand why they couldn’t do it Friday. I want to know what the specific legislation is that’s happening. I’d like to know what the superintendent and the principals did about saying, “No, I’m not granting you your leave.” And here’s the other killer for me — and I want these people to get paid more — but are they saying that the quality of the education they currently provide would be improved if they made more money. Or are they saying better quality teachers will show up to take their jobs? How does paying them more impact the quality of what they’re teaching my kids right now? Now, I still think they deserve extra money, but how does that argument impact that? That’s Joanne’s e-mail — right? — like, “Hey, we’re 42nd in school funding. That must mean we’re 42nd in school education performance.? That’s not true!

TUBBS: [00:11:00] Correct.

BRAUCHLER: [00:11:01] I want these teachers to get more money. But, come on!

TUBBS: [00:11:03] Well — to your point — I mean, it makes me think twice. And you and I are not the only ones in our county — where we live in, Douglas County — we’re not the only ones now — probably guaranteed — thinking twice about, “Do we want to vote for the next mill levy?” Now I get it. I railed on 27-J — the people in Brighton. I railed on them because they hadn’t passed a mill levy in 17 years. Well, crap like this — man, do I take my words back! Truly! Uh, you know how it is, George. We’ve got to take a break, but I’ll give you the final comment.

BRAUCHLER: [00:11:36] I do! Yeah, buddy!.

TUBBS: [00:11:39] Go ahead.

BRAUCHLER: [00:11:39] I love our teachers. Up to this point,. I have trusted our teachers and their decision making, and I want to pay them more. This one right here, –next time I see my kids’ teachers — and my God, I hope they don’t hold it against them, they’re great kids.

TUBBS: [00:11:50] [laughs].

BRAUCHLER: [00:11:50] I want to ask. “Were you one of the ones that forced the school district to shut down?” And I want to know from the superintendent — the acting superintendent, “What’s your role in this?” Maybe we’ve got to do a CORA request, my man. I don’t know.

TUBBS: [00:12:02] Sounds good. Thank you, George. We’ll talk to you soon.

BRAUCHLER: [00:12:05] All right, buddy!

TUBBS: [00:12:06] George Brauchler, running for Attorney General, but here, on 710 KNUS today — on Monday, April 23 — calling as a concerned Douglas County parent. We’ll get you a traffic and news update and your calls when we return.