The Wickerdale Walkers were organized as a nonpartisan community group with the mission to make a difference for our children and educators. We came together as a group of parents who were upset over the loss of our children’s bus service. During that process, we learned about the challenges that face our school district. We got off the couch and decided to help. We made the plight of our children’s schools and the educators who serve them, our own. Our group has met with key state legislatures to pursue changes and amendments to the current laws that would benefit all of Colorado’s school districts. We are continuing this fight, but we need support from the community in order to carry this out. Please consider joining our cause, whether you realize it or not this fight is your fight. Everyone has a vested interest in providing the best education possible for our next generation.

Will you attend the Wickerdale Walkers march on the Capitol in April?

How do I make a difference?

We have many ways to get involved. One of the easiest is to mail a red crayon, (Crayons 4 Education) to Governor Bill Ritter, sample letter below:

Crayons 4 Education

Mail to:

Governor Bill Ritter and Budget Committee Members

136 State Capitol

Denver, CO. 80203-1792

Dear Governor Bill Ritter and Budget Committee members,

You are in receipt of 1 red crayon; courtesy of Crayons 4 Education.

Please take note it is red; this is to symbolize the debt the state is passing onto our children. The cuts to next year’s budget as well as the rescissions this year are stripping Colorado’s children of their ability to compete. Colorado already funds education at $1400 less than the national average, an embarrassment which is now being compounded. The Crayon itself symbolizes Education. We must ensure that this generation is better equipped to meet the challenges of the wider world that they live in. We cannot accomplish this by crippling education year after year. We are demanding a full review of the purposed cuts and alternate methods of funding be devised. Our wish is that you look at the Colorado State Lotto, which currently provides money for Colorado States Parks and also pays farmers on the Western slope to retain their land instead of selling to developers. We appreciate the nice parks but in time of recession and extreme cut backs we are asking you what is necessary the luxury of parks or better education in the lives of our children NOW? If you would like to be better educated about our plan for redirection of the Colorado State Lotto funds please visit the following web site:


The education of children is serious business and we can ill afford to jeopardize their (and our own future) with a culture of cuts and fiscal irresponsibility!


"Wickerdale Walkers"

A group of concerned parents....

See us on Facebook as Wickerdale Walkers


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lotto Trigger goes to the Capitol

Hello From your friendly neighborhood Wickerdale WalkersOn Monday May 3rd House Bill HRC10-1007 will be introduced. This bill contains many of the provisions that Brad and I have publicized in school board meetings, television interviews, news papers and other print publications. Essentially this bill would redistribute lotto money that currently funds GOCO. When Brad and I first looked at alternate methods of school funding this idea was paramount. What was appealing to us was that it was not creating a new tax or raising an existing one. Here in Douglas County we spend a lot of time talking about the 70% of people who do not have children in school and how to reach them. We felt and feel that ideas like this show the public at large that education can get out of the box and do new things in the realm of funding. While we both have deep concerns for our environment and the preservation of land we feel that today the greater need is for our children and those who teach them. Conservation is important, however, we can make up time towards those goals in the future, when the economic climate has recovered. These difficult times call for balancing wants and needs more so than ever before. Parks and land conservation are in the want category especially when examined against education. I would add that trees do not have mortgages to pay, teachers do. The bill is being introduced by State Representative Jerry Sonnerberg from District 65. I am attaching a link to the bill below, as well as additional information on his web page. I will be at the capital on Monday to fight for this bill and I am asking for support, especially from teachers or administrators who can attend. I will apologize in advance for the next few statements, but given the nature of these times I have to go political. The CEA opposes this bill, I am sad to say that is not a shock. They oppose it because it (in their view) it pits two “progressive” and historic allies against one another, education and the environment. Why do I know this? Because we reached out to the CEA in December and again January, after 20 + phone calls and countless messages we finally spoke to a CEA representative who told us that our energies would be better spent trying to pass a mill increase for our district because our idea would put education and the environment at odds. Apparently in their myopic view they missed what their job is, to represent their members, not environmental special interests. This is an emergency measure designed to help teachers and children. The CEA’s stance is politics plain and simple and I for one feel that my children and our school district deserves much better. Thankfully they are not our union and while I would never presume to guess what position the Federation will take on this measure I will say that when Brad and I presented them with our plan (which was far more comprehensive and cut GOCO and the Colorado Land Trust much deeper) they thought it was great and encouraged us to pursue it. Lately it seems that the CEA opposes any legislation that is progressive, tenure reform to name just one. We missed out on Race to the Top money in part because of the states tenure laws and the lack of Lotto investment into education. How is it that and organization that is supposed to work for educators opposes measures that (had they existed at the time) could have won Colorado a windfall for education? This makes no sense to me. I as a private citizen interpret it like this; the political affiliations of the CEA are taking precedence over the well being of their members, the children and the communities they all serve. Please reach out to representative Sonnenberg at jerry@repsonnenberg.com to get involved. I will be there and I hope to see many of you as well. Copy of the actual bill: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2010a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/E494D71D4AA4DF6F872576FF006236BC?Open&file=HCR1007_01.pdf

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Responsible Ethical Citizenship

This is a fabulous program that we are losing to the school budget cuts, take a look at this web site!! I met with Barbara last Monday and she took me through what this program has accomplished and how it supports and underscores the districts vision. It is a shame beyond words to lose this program. Please take a moment and click the below link and see for yourself just what we have lost.


Proposition 101 and its Amendments 60 & 61

I am a deeply conservative man when it comes to taxes and fiscal responsibility, with that said these 3 acts, lets cal them Moe, Larry and Curley and bloody insane! I am not about to give up my local sovereignty on taxation and subject myself to the whims of the states voting populace anytime a Mill Levy is needed. This will decimate our police force and emergency service and crush all local government. The people who came up with this are so detached from reality it is scary!

Please become informed about these upcoming ballot initiatives. I believe they will cause long-term damage to our State and Local entities. I value nice roads, good schools, public libraries and local government - each will be impacted negatively if these pass. In addition to opposition site I listed below - read these... articles from the Denver Post which include links to both opposition and support groups http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_14445721and http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14445856

Protect Colorado's Communities Vote NO on Colorado Amendments 60, 61 and Prop. 101
Extremists are already trying to make the 2010 ballot longer than ever. Three reckless and radical initiatives have been proposed--Proposition 101 (formerly Initiative #10), Amendment 60 (formerly Initiative ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

News 31 Interview follow up

I want to thank Kim Posey and Fox News 31 for interviewing us tonight. There is a lot of confusion over what we are saying and I want to clear the air so that everyone can be upset about the facts and not the conjecture.
1) The survey that was referred to in the story states that 87% of Coloradoans still favor Lotto money going to parks. What they do not say is that education was not one of the alternatives listed on the survey. So it is an apples and oranges discussion, we therefore find their logic mute.

2) Chris Leding with GOCO said parks and conservation projects are important when companies consider coming to Colorado. I disagree and here is why. A company wants and needs 2 things; Low Taxes and Skilled labor. Parks factor very little in that equation, but education is what is going to provide the skilled people needed to make a business run well. Ever increasing Mill Levies and Bonds erode the financial integrity of the community and decrease our appeal to business. Businesses are leaving Colorado as we speak and the parks as nice as they are have not been a factor in retaining them. So her argument is flawed.

3) If parks and open space projects are so vital to land values why does my property value continue to fall when I am surrounded by them?

4) Our Lotto idea is a trigger on existing funds during periods of high unemployment. THIS IS NOT A NEW TAX! When times are good parks get all the money. When times are bad parks are treated like the luxury that they are and would do their part to help the community that they serve. If 87% of the people of Colorado truly want to fund parks with Lotto money, then there should be no problem for GOCO and The Colorado Land Trusts (which currently holds 800 million in funds) to pass a bond or Mill Levy of their own.
To Chris Leding at GOCO, I ask you the following questions;
Are the parks and open spaces more important than children?
If parks and open space projects are so vital to land values why does my property value continue to fall when I am surrounded by them? (I will give you a hint, my school district is suffering and is a far more accurate barometer of economic health than are the parks.)
Has GOCO or the Colorado Land Trust let go of employees?
Has pay been cut?
Has GOCO or he Colorado Land Trust had to return part of its budget to the state?
Have your bonds or levies failed?
Are you opposed to sharing your wealth with Colorado’s children?

If we cannot get the best funded institutions in the state to share their plenty, during times of need, with the worst funded institution in the state, all is lost and your parks will be home to our future homeless, jobless kids. Colorado’s children are funded $1400 less per pupil than the national average, how do you think our parks will compare nationally?
I challenge you to come up with a better idea, our children, who are the future, beg you to come up with a better idea. With all of your wealth and resources surly a better solution should come from you. If you cannot think of a different long term solution, you should join our group.
We are a state of 5 million people living on nearly 110,000 square miles of land, conservation is important, but time can be made up on conservation. We have 1 chance to educate Colorado’s children. Before we deiced to put wants before needs, luxury before duty and parks before education we must answer the toughest question, who will run the parks in 20 years if we do not educate these children today? The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the only time to educate children is today.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Your Hub Article Response 2

This is the follow up to last weeks Your Hub article by Dave Schallert.

His response is first and mine follows it on the same post.

Mr. DiCarlo...so much to address. 1. Don't talk to me about "leaving the safety" of the desktop. Writing this piece exposes me to multiple harms by over-aroused DCSD hacks and others (including union thugs) who believe it is their right to prosper while the folks who fund their paychecks struggle.

2. DCSD is funded w/ MY MONEY! I earned it. Your comparison of for-profit businesses vs. the schools is lame to say the least. Just because DCSD has a guaranteed income stream from a captive Douglas County taxpayers does NOT exempt them from good financial and business practices. Does DCSD actually ask themselves "Gee...if this were MY money, would I spend it this way?" I pay approx. $300 a month in taxes to DCSD..and what do I get? $223 for scented pencils! Don't you think I could have USED the $300 myself? Instead it goes to these morons in DCSD. It isn't DCSD's money it's THE TAXPAYER'S MONEY...and they should treat it as such. Don't you think I'd rather do something else with my $$$ than send it the DCSD Black Hole? Again...it's NOT DCSD'S MONEY...it's OUR money.

3. DCSD proposes furloughs and pay "freezes". What a cop out. These folks work FOR US! We don't work for them. They can always rehire staff later when/if times improve. I have no sympathy for DCSD...as I said, let them feel what we've been feeling for the last 2 years. Get rid of them permanently...there is no such thing as "furloughs" in the private sector. If your job is so unimportant where I work that you can be sent home for a few days a year w/ no pay to save money, then you are let go COMPLETELY. DCSD doesn't begin to know the meaning of "hard choices."

4. DCSD pay "freezes?" What a joke! We'll freeze your inflated salary instead of giving you a raise. OOOhhhh...that's SO bold! How about an across the board 10% salary REDUCTION at DCSD. That covers the entire deficit. Schools aren't a sacred cow. They don't wag the county and they aren't immune from reality. Finally David...what are they going to do when the reduced property assessments hit this year w/ a lookback period of June 2008 to June 2010? I expect they'll see about a 20% reduction in their "revenue" from the unfortunate homeowners in Douglas County. DCSD doesn't get it...and I'm going to be on them until they do.

Dave...in all I said/replied below, I want to make clear one thing: I think what you and your group are doing/trying to do is very positive w/ regards to the DCSD. We just come at it from different perspectives and backgrounds. Layoffs, people losing their jobs, the uncertainty it brings to a family/household are terrible things. I've been through it. That said, I believe DCSD comes up w/ all kinds of ideas to meet a budget shortfall except the obvious...they have too many people working for them and need to cull personnel, no matter how painful for all involved. Period

David DiCarlo's Response 2/7/2010

Hey Dave,

1. This hub character limit makes responses hard. First of all I appreciate your input regardless of perspective differences. As for exposure I can tell you that anyone who would (or could) fall into that category has yet to surface in the circle I have seen and believe me I am on record with some pretty inflammatory thing to both left and right. I agree with the comment on folks struggling and layoffs, my home has recently gone through this and I can attest to the fear and stress this can cause. But keeping the $300 is pennies in a fountain. We all spend far more on taxes we never see at all. I would rather spend on schools and cut the amount I am sending to the poor stewards in D.C.

2. I agree that it is our money, but I stand by my non-profit assessment. I will tell you that the transparency is not a transparent as you may think. Many of the superfluous items such as the pencils have an actual use for educating students with disabilities; I found this out after losing my mind over the same information. The other missing part is that many of these items are in fact reimbursed to the school by either the PTO or parents but unfortunately that part of the math is not yet in the so called “transparency”. Bottom line is it is our money and we do need to be sure that the school is being good stewards of that money. I advocate increase accountability but not more cuts. Civil services that are poorly run are going to kill more of my property value. As with most working people my retirement fund is my home, I need it to be worth every penny. If the DCSD is a black hole it is our duty as the tax payers to fix it. I believe we are all responsible because we only look at things after the crash. No one was interested when things were good.

3. This is again a comparison that cannot evenly be made. We must by law educate children. There is no law guaranteeing employment or quality thereof for you or I. A teacher is a non-negotiable part of the education equation, how do you propose we provide quality education without quality teachers? We have only 1 chance to educate a child and the next generation cannot afford to be as stupid as mine. Generation X has made a career out of bad choices and putting wants before needs. We need to end that culture and build in its stead a culture of responsibility. Responsibility goes hand in hand with education.

4. While I do not agree with the inflated salary scenario, I do agree that pay freezes are over played. I am in that boat myself and raises cannot be guaranteed to anyone, neither can affordable health benefits, mine go up every year. The health of the economy dictates the ability to give a raise. In a recession raises are not going to be possible, however, a pay cut will KILL moral. I have worked in companies where pay was cut and the only thing that is worse than losing a job is to have that employer decide you are worth less today than you were yesterday. The new property evaluations are indeed going to kill the schools budget, yet again. But let’s be honest, we are no talking about an amount that will make my life better or worse. The figures I have seen means about a $15 monthly savings. This amount is not going to get me retired to a beach anytime soon. But when combined with community it will make a difference in the education of our children.

I have spoke to many people who feel they have no stake and in fact that since their children are grown or they have none that they should not have to pay at all. In both scenarios I support their position; however, they do not support my solution for the dilemma. For the retiree who has educated their children and claims to get no benefit from the school system I say keep your property tax, but I get no benefit from Social Security so I will keep that money and send it the police, fire and school systems. They can live off their property tax and all would be great.
For the folks that do not have children, I would issue them an exemption from paying property tax, as soon as they present a certified check for all the funds (adjusted for inflation) that were ever spent publically educating them K-12. In both cases the folks on the other side of the issue believe my position to be unreasonable. Which is how I feel about theirs, although I will tell you after I lay out my solutions, we seem to have a better understand of one another.
Dave, I want to invite you to post on our blog as a counter point. I respect the opinions you have put out and after reading your recent post I realize that it does take courage to share your point of view. Doing what is right is not always doing what is popular. Believe me the land management people think we are trying to lead the Frankenstein villagers into their parks to burn them down for the children. These are not easy time for anyone and we will all get further if we talk about the issues and learn together. In the end this is not a problem that can or will go away any time soon. We have many ideas that we are launching which are outside of the Mill Levy arena. The Mill is a poor band-aid for a deep sickness and we will be working to address the disease not just the symptoms. I again extend a personal invitation to our facebook and blog and welcome your opinions and verbal / written sparring. I will leave you with this thought, education today or welfare tomorrow, rhetoric aside look to your big American cities as this was their choice 20 – 30 years ago.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Response to the Your Hub Article

Here is the link to the article:


My response was too long to post there so i am posting it here. Please read the article and understand this is the type of misconception we must overcome in this battle.

Dave's response:

All I can say is wow. As a parent and voter in Douglas County I found your article to be current, on task, thoughtful, informative and yet completely wrong. You are doing a great injustice by making a comparison that is in fact impossible. You are juxtaposing the “for profit businesses” with “not for profit school system”. This is an unbalanced equation with no common denominator. Children have no choice but to go to school, however, as an employee or person of business I always have the choice in what I am doing. If I do not make enough, I look for a new job. If my business is not successful enough I get more innovative. In business, my actions dictate my revenue stream. In education the revenue steam is outside of the employee’s sphere of control, innovation is locked up in the desk drawer of the state or federal government as mandates and “one size fits all programs” rain down like volcanic ash.
We are, duty bound to the endeavor of providing the best education possible for children. Before we berate the Douglas County School District we need to look at some facts. We are the eighth largest county by population and have the highest median incomes in the state. Yet we are in the bottom of 180 school districts in a state that funds education at $1400 less per pupil than the national average. Even with this yoke this county has consistently produced the highest test scores in the state. The funding formula is a living exercise in Robin Hood economics. Make more; take more, with no consideration for the fact that if we earn more it stands to reason that we have a higher cost of living. A teacher working here must be able to afford to live here. We have good teachers, because we pay well. Sounds like capitalism at its finest. I always shake my head when we as a people send a mixed message about education. As a society we engage in a five decade long struggle against socialism? We toppled that belief and disproved its false gods, yet we hold education in limbo between the failures of socialism and the faults of capitalism. The fault lives in the community, if you engage with the public and ask questions you will see it. Education lacks the “what’s in it for me” perspective. We have lost sight of the balance between wants and needs and to steal (slightly) from Benjamin Franklin, a society that sacrifices needs for wants deserves neither and shall lose both. Do we in sincerity believe that teachers have no economic aspirations that they are of a socialistic nature and are looking to be dependent upon governmental programs for their needs? No, they want opportunity and room to advance and grow. It was said at a school board meeting that teachers don’t go into to teaching to become rich. This may be a fair statement, but they don’t do it to be poor either. As a state we have created conditions where this is now the choice. This is a state problem and but it is our responsibility to take the fight there.
Douglas County is treated as if property value is always on the upswing and no one ever loses a job. The media reinforces this stereo type and pours glasses filled with the Kool-Aid for the public to drink down. Suddenly, almost magically, like an Oliver Stone movie, facts seem less important. Citizens line up across the pit and scream about how we got here, recriminations fester and suddenly the enemy lives on your block or next door, based on whose campaign signs they display in their yard. My group, The Wickerdale Walkers, has actual ideas and plans on how to do fix the mess; we are trying hard to be part of the solution.
I must ask every citizen reading this, have you attended a meeting of the school board, SAC, DAC or PTO? Do you have firsthand knowledge of what these cuts will do to our county (our property values)? Do you realize that the preliminary numbers for next year’s state education cuts gives Douglas County 13% of the total? To author such an article with no sort of remedy is in fact the worst kind of action we can engage in. This article speaks to administrative waste in one sentence then blames the union in the next. Is the problem management or is it labor? If this is just the start of an anti-Mill movement I applaud the effort, but it is, alas, about 15 years too late. The time to fix today was yesterday, we missed it. The time to fix tomorrow is now; if we do not act in long term meaningful ways we will be in the same leaky boat drinking from the same sieve 15 years from now. This means we need a levy to stop the bleeding while we actively pursue different avenues of education funding, such as Lotto, existing bond re-direction, co-op buying as a state and a host of other ideas. The enemy is not your teachers, administrators, parents, community or school board; right now it is the state and the poor way that the capitol has handled finances. That is where our energy must go. We must move above the fray and keep the fight where it belongs

The time for stale election year rhetoric has passed and I invite everyone to get off the couch and move in closer to the issues. Leave the safety of your laptops and show the courage you all have. If we are only to be about “tilting at windmills” we will soon learn that this is a real dragon and idiom alone cannot slay it. If we are not working on solving the problem, we are the problem. Visit us on facebook as the “Wickerdale Walkers” and get plugged in to solutions in the making.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Soda and Candy Tax

I just read an article about the soda and candy tax that the Gov. signed. If my math is correct it will raise around 140 million dollars in 2010-11, but cuts to education alone will be 250 - 350 million plus another 60 million at the higher education level. How much of this money will actually go to schools? Does anyone know? It is a nice start, but does not come close to filling in the hole. Here is a tip Bill, There is money in the Parks! If soda and candy are a luxury (and they are) so are the parks! Stop cutting education, stop hurting kids, stop driving down the value of our homes by creating schools that cannot properly run. We have a lot of ideas on this topic, tell your scheduling people to set a meeting with the Wickerdale Walkers and let’s move forward for Colorado's children.

This message was brought to you by the coalition against making stupid citizens.

I'm David DiCarlo and I approve this message.