7.22.15 Jeffco WNW Recall Facts (part 2) & join us on Wadsworth!

The World Is Run By Those Who Show Up

Join us this afternoon for Boots on the Blvd 3.0: Drive the Blvd & Sign. We’ll be out at selected intersections along Wadsworth from 3:30 to 7 pm with petitions and signs encouraging drivers to pull into a nearby parking lot and walk over to sign. Look for us Wadsworth and the following cross streets: Bowles, Belleview, Hampden, Jewell, Alameda, Colfax, 38th, 44th, 52nd, 80th, and Church Ranch/100th. Bring your petitions, wave signs and let Jeffco know how important this is.

As you gear up for this afternoon we wanted to equip you with answers to some questions sent in a recent mail by Jeffco’s Republican Party. Your neighbors, friends and coworkers might ask you these questions, so here are some points to get you started:

Do they think rewarding effective teachers is wrong?

Denver and Boulder are giving their teachers raises of more than 5%. We’re “rewarding” highly effective teachers with a 1% raise and effective teachers with 0.5% percent. Which reward would you pick?

Do they think we should increase our debt for new schools when $18 million was available to build a new school?

The board’s $18 million builds one school with 600 seats, but the district expects 2,000 to 5,000 students in the next five years. Northwest Arvada schools are already at or over capacity. The board’s decision will mean that those schools add “dry” temporary buildings (“dry” = no water, so kids have to go inside the main building to wash hands or use the restroom), which will also incur landscaping and other costs at schools to accommodate the temps. Do you want your tax dollars to pay for temporary buildings without sinks or restrooms, plus the associated costs of setting up the buildings? Or would you rather save money and do it right the first time by building schools that will last?

Do they think all children deserve access to a great public education? 

Yes, and that is why we support recalling Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. Their agenda is actually about slowly strangling public education and is having a negative impact on our students.

Do they think parents and local communities should have input on decisions for their school?

Yes, but the board majority has ignored that input repeatedly in favor of their own agenda. They have ignored community input on both of the last budget surveys, and on school choice because it didn’t align with their politics.

They talk about listening to parents, but actually receive almost all of their direction and money from outside of Jeffco, hypocritically touting local control while being puppeteered by financiers and policy ideologues, most of whom have little investment in Jeffco. It’s time to recall them and elect board members who support all of Jeffco’s students.

This email also made a number of claims that we’d like to start addressing. We’ll tackle the claims about students today.

CLAIM 1: The board has improved student achievement because it raised the bar for students.

FACTS:

  • Student achievement scores have remained largely steady in Jeffco for the past few years. We continue to score above the state average and are proud to have kept our scores steady while student achievement in Douglas County declined last year, but there is no discernible difference in scores before and after WNW’s election.
  • Results from this spring’s PARCC tests won’t be provided to the district until sometime in the 2015/16 year — which means there isn’t any data about how the kids did available yet.
  • At the May school board meeting, Ken Witt told district staff that Jeffco was failing its students in math. Why? Because district staff could not provide immediate data on what student scores would look like on PARCC tests (see above about PARCC results).
  • BOTTOM LINE:There is absolutely no significant data to support that achievement has been improved.

CLAIM 2: WNW worked with the Superintendent to provide students a “larger voice.”

FACTS:

  • WNW repeatedly went out of their way to deny students the opportunity to speak at board meetings through the 2014/15 school year.
  • After a student group requested a meeting with the school board, Ken Witt put a student’s social media post — with her full name — on the projector for everyone to see during a school board meeting, and used the post as an excuse to refuse to talk to the student group.
  • The Superintendent had already been talking to students in an effort to address concerns about the curriculum review committee, and the idea to include students came from him, not WNW.
  • BOTTOM LINE: WNW has spent its time silencing student opposition, with only token moves to give students a voice in school decisions.

Don’t forget to join us on Wadsworth this afternoon, and no matter what,

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

Leave Us Alone! Koch Brothers Pouring More Money Into Jeffco

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We all know people who just can’t believe the idea that the Koch Brothers helped buy the 2013 Jeffco School Board elections. Well, share this new message with them. Not only do we know better about 2013, but now we know that they’ve committed even more resources to the fight, if they haven’t already: starting […]

6.26.15 It’s time: Let’s recall WNW!

recallshirt

You’ve asked. You’ve waited. And it’s time. The recall process for Witt, Williams and Newkirk is off and running. We received this press release from Jeffco United in our inbox this afternoon:

Jeffco Community Pulls Recall Petitions on Three School Board Majority Members

The School Board Majority Members Have Failed to Do What’s Best for Taxpayers & Students

Golden, CO – Today, Wendy McCord a stay-at-home mother of three Jeffco students, along with Michael Blanton a Jeffco father and attorney, and Tina Gurdikian a Jeffco mother of two students and an environmental compliance specialist submitted language to the Jefferson County Clerk’s office to recall the three Jeffco School Board Majority Members – Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams.

“We can no longer wait! The Board Majority Members are taking away the opportunity for our Jeffco students to succeed by failing to do what we elected them to do, represent the voice of the entire community and not just those who voted for them. The Board Majority Members regularly disregard input from the community and district staff, including their solo pick for superintendent, Dan McMinimee. The Board Majority Members have gone so far as to limit public comment, and take up to a year to respond with shallow form letters to emails submitted to the Board by their constituents. In the case of facility needs to address increasing enrollment in the north, Board Majority Members have left families in a state of stressful limbo wondering where their children will attend school,” stated Tina Gurdikian.

“The language we submitted as the grounds for recall today clearly outlines why the Board Majority Members are not suited to continue in their elected roles. For over a year, the Board Majority Members have made decisions behind closed doors and violated their own rules as well as state and federal laws. All of this secrecy and lack of transparency has resulted in over 700 educators and countless families leaving Jeffco Schools – this is unacceptable,” continued Wendy McCord.

“Between the broken promises to voters, violating open meeting laws and privacy laws and wasting taxpayer money, I as a Jeffco voter felt it was time to stand up and put an end to the chaos that has overtaken our school board. The board majority members have consistently exhibited a fundamental disrespect for Jeffco parents and students, and their attitude and actions will only cause our students to fall behind their peers, locally, nationally and globally,” concluded Michael Blanton.

Below is the statement of grounds for the recalls that was submitted today. Jeffco United For Action “Jeffco School Board President Ken Witt and the School Board Majority have failed Jeffco taxpayers, parents and students. A recall now will:

  • Restore ACCOUNTABILITY: The Board Majority wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, including hiring a novice Superintendent for $280,000–$80,000 more a year than the previous nationally recognized Superintendent of 12 years—and hiding $90,000 each year in legal expenses from the public.
  • Restore TRANSPARENCY: They have repeatedly violated Colorado open meeting laws by secretly making major decisions behind closed doors. They have severely limited public comment at board meetings, bullied students and parents, and released a minor student’s private information in violation of state law.
  • Restore RESPECT: They attempted to censor US History classes, leading thousands of students to walk out of class in protest. Their unprofessional actions have pushed over 700 educators this past year to leave Jeffco schools, most to teach in other districts, because the educators believe the Board Majority’s policies hurt their ability to educate our students.

In the interest of our children, community and schools, we need to send the message that our kids’ education and fiscal responsibility come before politics.”

Once the recall petition has been submitted, the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder has seven business days to approve the language. Following that, circulators have 60 days to gather 15,000 signatures for each of the three seats they are seeking to recall.

We need every one of our readers to help spread Jeffco reclaim its schools and recall WNW. Please stop by the Jeffco United website to sign up for emails. You can also help with the recall effort by contacting Jeffco parent Tina Gurdikian at tgurdikian@hotmail.com.

Don’t hesitate. We need people to sign petitions, gather signatures, and most of all, to explain to Jeffco residents who don’t have kids in school why their vote to recall these three is so very, very important for the future of our children and Jeffco as a whole.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!