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Jeffco Students, Teachers and Parents Demand Resignation of School Board

Due to the Jeffco District School Board's complete lack of regard for the legal obligations and policies -- or even acknowledgement that there were laws they were obligated to regard, the community of Jeffco Colorado has started a public petition in order to begin the Re-Call process of three board members. The members in question are Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams.

Julie Williams is of course the member who after talking with like minded Education Board Members in Texas, began steps here to change or remove the AP US History program in Jeffco with apparent plans for further alterations to the schools of Jeffco County. Since she was unable to recall a single passage from the AP US History material which demonstrated a need for a committee evaluation, or such radical changes , Williams admitted that: “I’m not familiar enough with everything that is in AP history to make that judgment.” When asked about the kids and the protesting however, Williams said with strong confidence, the students were “uninformed pawns” of the teachers’ union. 

It’s not surprising she could be so definite on the one and so ignorant of the other, because Williams is one of the Jeffco 3, often referred to as the WNW of the School Board -- the recently elected, Koch-brothers-praised, ultra-conservative school board majority that has gone to war with Jeffco schools as we once knew them. This board of thee frequently disregard policy and practice -- often demonstrating that they aren't even aware of policies or best practices. The Sunshine laws of transparency are openly disregarded -- many times they boldly tell the public that a matter will be discussed and decided on in a "closed meeting" later. 

After blatantly ignoring the community's strong concerns (demonstrated by student walk-outs, teacher and parent support and a petition of 40k+ names)regarding the school boards intent for the AP US History program, and then their asinine declaration that this disregard was a "compromise" -- apparently on the grounds that ordering a firing squad for the malcontents wasn't available to them at the moment -- the community started a petition for RECALL
We demand Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams RESIGN from the Jefferson County Public School Board of Education immediately.


Witt, Newkirk, and Williams have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, harassed and insulted teachers, driven away experienced and effective senior staff, impugned students, ignored concerns of parents, broken Sunshine laws meant to ensure transparency and accountability, violated school board bylaws, betrayed the trust of citizens who voted for mill and bond in 2012, and publicly embarrassed our school district and its students by claiming our district is failing in written editorials, on television and on radio. We demand that all three of you resign before you do more damage to our community. We stand united in our support of teachers and students and the excellent quality of public education in Jefferson County.

The beginning of this could be said to have started on Sept 23, 2014 when the students started their walk-out protest against Julie William's proposed ideas of bringing the glories of TEKS into their classrooms.
...identify major intellectual, philosophical, political, and religious traditions that informed the American founding, including Judeo-Christian (especially biblical law), English common law and constitutionalism, Enlightenment, and republicanism, as they address issues of liberty, rights, and responsibilities of individuals; §113.44. United States Government (One-Half Credit), Beginning with School Year 2011-2012.
Then again, their is a reasonable, though faulty argument to be made that this all started a couple of weeks earlier when the board denied all requests from the Teacher's Union, disregarded their own fact-finding teams assessment that the proposed pay-on-performance plan was not accurate or fair enough to be used for salary raises, and put the policy into place anyway. They also told the Union that they (the three) were not in favor of dealing with the union in the first place and that perhaps contracts should be made with individual teachers instead.

Perhaps the spark goes back even further, as it to the days when the Board made a vote to allocate $5 million more for charter schools: Some protested the allocation, arguing the move doesn't reflect what voters intended in measures 3a and 3b, which targeted money into keeping class sizes down.

Maybe the vote to not expand full-day kindergarten: A $600,000 proposal would have expanded free full-day kindergarten to more schools where 35 percent of students qualify for federal free and reduced lunch.

Then of course there is the charter schools being brought in which, being religious in nature, go against the State Constitution section 7 (The Blaine Laws).

Or maybe it was back when they hired a new superintendent (after the last one simply couldn't take their unprofessional and ludicrous behavior any more and quit), without public hearing or notice.

Could have been when the board hired their own attorney with school funding -- not an attorney for the school district, which was policy, but a lawyer for the board, with a rather large salary tacked on to that arrangement -- again without public notice or knowledge or hearing. No explanation of why the "Board" needed a lawyer has been given either.

All of these are certainly justifications for every teacher to give the WNW Board members a unanimous vote of No Confidence in September. Several of these popointsnd certainly the collection is enough to spark the RECALL no in effect. However, I believe, after studying the situation, that this began much earlier.. even before the date they came into office.

According to Jeffco School Board Policy C.R.S. 22-31-101(1)-107 C.R.S. 1-2-101 the qualifications for a School Board Member are:
A candidate for the office of school director shall be a resident of the director district that will be represented, have been a registered elector and resident of the school district for at least 12 months. A person is ineligible to run for school director if he/she has been convicted of committing a sexual offense against a child.(other acts of rape are apparently acceptable)
It is important that the candidate be sincerely and honestly interested in serving the whole school district for the best interests of all children. Board members shall be nonpartisan in dealing with school matters. The Board does not wish to subordinate the education of children and youth to any partisan principle, group interest, or personal ambition.
On the surface this doesn't seem like a bad idea, until you realize that this is all there is to it. Any other position in the school system, including gardner, requires a background check, finger prints, a list of qualifications which must be met, educational requirements which should be met, and contracts signed to declare that they are not going to do certain actions on the job. None of these things are required for a Board Member.

I've also been told that there is no Oversight for the District School Boards. The State Board has no real oversight, or disciplinary powers at the district level. So, who do you go to with a complaint? You go to the School Board and they.. investigate themselves.  IF they find that they are at fault, then the Board censors themselves.. Bad Board, no Biscuit.. and then they move on to the next item on the agenda.
The administration shall develop procedures to ensure that complaints are received courteously and that responses are made in a proper and timely manner.
Complaints that cannot be resolved by the administration and citizen appeals of administrative decisions shall be handled by the Board through written correspondence. -- Public/Parent Concerns and Complaints (notice lack of Colorado Law reference)
So, with no qualification requirements such as "You must know something about education, and it would be handy if you knew something about the history you want to censor"  - no qualifications -- you risk bringing onto your School Board members who are not exactly intelligent. People who might not realize that a law exists, or if it does exist they have to follow it like everyone else. You run the risk of narrow minded people being elected who are not able to make logical and selfless decisions which take only the best interests of the children into account. Such people would not recognize that a walk-out of these children should be regarded as the highest level of accusation and the strongest decree that they are failing at their jobs.

You run the risk of electing WNW.

Julie Williams has already declared publically and in the press that her radical and extreme political agendas disqualify her to continue being on the board. She is not a representative of the children, the community or even education. However there doesn't appear to be oversight so RECALL is the only option to go to.

I would suggest to the people of Jeffco, and indeed the whole of Colorado that having a board which can be so easily taken over by a majority, requires a body of oversight and censor. Witt absolutely disregards the Sunshine Laws...  but so what? Who do you call to reign him in? Who can step in and say "Stop it!" You are left with only the courts -- a slow and in many cases an expensive option.

How to Recall 
Facebook page for Board Member Recall

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