Check-in with Interim CEO Dr. Karen Johnson

Interim KOSON CEO Announcement (Presentation)

The excitement and energy during the start of the school year has been a rewarding experience during these past two weeks! It has been so wonderful to see students returning to classes, hear them laughing in the hallways, and see all of the smiling faces. Our staff is just as enthusiastic to settle into their routines and get to know their students. The Elementary Back to School Night was a terrific way to connect with our new and returning families.

The construction of our new middle school cafeteria and new middle school classrooms has been a welcome addition to our facility. Thank you for the continued support, patience, and flexibility as the new gym space takes shape. We anticipate its completion in the upcoming months.

For those of you who were unable to attend Erin Kane’s presentation regarding the Mill Levy and Bond initiatives, please take a few moments to view or listen to her presentation. As a Douglas County School District school, we will be positively impacted by these initiatives. As stated in our Strategic Plan, a focus on staff support and retention is a primary goal. Salaries and benefits are the major areas in which our budget lies. We strive to continue our goal of meeting and/or exceeding the DCSD salary schedules for our staff. In addition, building improvements will be necessary for the upcoming future. These initiatives will support STEM in meeting the demands of funding our facility needs.

We can’t ignore or deny that educators and support staff personnel are leaving DCSD for other districts because, in many cases, their starting salaries are $20,000 more than we can offer. While we continue to make improvements to our staff climate and culture, as well as our students’ experiences, it will not be enough to retain our highly-qualified and talented staff if we as a district and community cannot improve our funding.

Thank you for your continued support for students and staff! I am proud to be part of this amazing community!

Dr. Karen Johnson, Interim CEO of KOSON Schools

News from DCSD about Funding Challenges

Do you know how STEM gets funded? Not many people know. As a free, public charter school in the Douglas County School District, we receive funding through Per Pupil Revenue (PPR). That means for each student we get a predetermined (by the State) amount of money. That money is then used to cover our operating costs, which include facilities, teacher/staff salaries and more. DCSD is one of the lowest-funded school districts in the state.

Any funding for capital improvements like the CHSAA Gym/Building Remodel Project is funded through Bond money that STEM receives from investors. Teacher/staff salaries cannot be paid using that money.

In order for STEM, and the other schools within DCSD, to provide competitive teacher/staff salaries, DCSD must find other ways to find funding. One avenue is through a Mill Levy Override (MLO) or a Bond. DCSD has established a committee to explore these funding options and we wanted to provide our community with information in order to stay informed and to help spread the word.

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