We received this letter from a Jeffco parent recently, and received permission to reprint it here. The writer is addressing John Newkirk’s “Plan B” for the Jefferson articulation area and whether board president Ken Witt should have abstained from voting on that issue.
Mr. Elliot, Chief School Effectiveness Officer, stated at the March 17th community meeting that neither Maple Grove nor Manning are at capacity or in risk thereof. He also said that it is proven that additional transitions negatively impact students and their success, which makes me and several others wonder if there is another reason for Mr. Witt and Mr. Newkirk’s push to add capacity to Maple Grove. Some have speculated that their plans might include closing other neighborhood schools and sending those students to Maple Grove.
My husband and I are both in the construction industry and believe that Mr. Witt’s past employment with ProBuild Holdings is crucial in the move. Carlson Land is currently going through the rezoning process with Jefferson County to rezone, buy, and develop the Applewood Golf Course with 454 track homes. Track/Pre-Fab Homes are the bread and butter of Mr. Witt’s ProBuild company. He was there for 5.5 years and I’m sure he has stock or a vested interest in ProBuild’s continued success.
By expanding Maple Grove’s capacity, Mr. Witt would help Carlson Associates to move forward with their plan to develop the property. I implore you to look past the two “rogue” WREA members (one of whom is a Realtor!) and see that there was a real conflict of interest involved for Mr. Witt to vote on the Jefferson Articulation Area “Plan B.”
Witt’s LinkedIn profile shows that he worked for ProBuild Holdings from February 2008 to June 2013 as their VP for IT governance, and that he worked as a consultant for them for six months before that.
Board policy GP-09 states the following:
A Board member who has a personal or private interest in a matter proposed or pending before the Board shall disclose such interest to the Board, shall not vote on it and shall not attempt to influence the decisions of other Board members in voting on the matter.
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Thanks to the reader who brought this to our attention. With a need for expanded or new school facilities in areas of new construction, Witt’s past (and current?) ties with ProBuild beg even more questions about this board’s motives and good governance practices.