Another Guest Column (from yet another non-“union operative”)

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Remember these comments, by a former Jeffco Communications Director on a certain right-wing talk radio station?

“The so-called parents that they’ve drummed up…

There’s no way young students could have put those together.

There’s clearly some sort of mill where they create this correspondence….

When a so-called scandal erupted, which was always created by this group, then there would be these, right away there would be this flood of correspondence about this ‘issue’ by these same characters — the Wendy McCords, the Tina Gurdikians, their buddies, there’s a long list of names.”

But we’re not “so-called” parents or “characters.” We’re parents, taxpayers and voters, and we will not be silenced.

To Fellow Jefferson County Residents,

As an over 30-year resident of south Jefferson County, a graduate of Wheat Ridge High School, and a supporter of our children and one grandchild who has graduated from Jefferson County Schools, I support the recall of Newkirk, Witt, and Williams. Neither my husband nor I have been employed by Jefferson County Schools. The current situation on the Jefferson County school board is extremely concerning; it is impeding the future of our children.

The three School Board members listed for recall have demonstrated they are not interested in promoting the education of Jeffco students, enhancing the professional development of teachers, or listening to and communicating with parents and community members. They reveal their personal interests consistently by promoting their own agendas rather than serving as educated representatives of Jefferson County residents. The lack of education and understanding exhibited by these three individuals is an embarrassment for them and for our school district.

The time has come for us to contribute our voices and act; we must remove these members from our school board as soon as possible before they do more harm.

Sincerely,
Anonymous Residents of and Graduates from Jefferson County Schools


 

8.20.15 Recall signatures validated!

J1picCelebrate with us: on Tuesday, the Jeffco County Clerk announced that the recall petitions have more than twice the number of necessary signatures for the ballot! Here are the numbers of validated signatures on each petition:

Ken Witt – 33,942
John Newkirk – 34,188
Julie Williams – 33,900

That’s all thanks to YOU, our dedicated Jeffco Schools supporters who value public education. More than 1200 of you volunteered and collected signatures — and what an amazing job you did!

Now we’re in the 15-day period in which any Jeffco resident can file a legal challenge to the petition. We hope they won’t so the item can be included on the November ballot and save the school district a considerable amount of money. (For details about the three-day window to submit the petitions to try to get the issue on the November general election ballot, read this post by Jeffco United for Action.)

At the moment, both Ken Witt and John Newkirk have indicated that they will not challenge the petitions, and Witt asked no one else to challenge them either. Julie Williams, meanwhile, appeared in a commercial produced by the Independence Institute’s newest creation, Kids Are First. Reports are that it’s showing both on network and cable television. They have BIG money behind them to be producing and running a commercial like that.

You might have heard the opposition shouting that thousands and thousands of these signatures were collected by paid petition carriers. Not true! More than 1200 volunteers carried petitions, volunteered at sign and drive locations, and we collected the thousands upon thousands of signatures that were turned into the County Clerk. We’ll let Jeffco United for Action explain:

Now, speaking about the truth – there have been some questions about the money raised and spent by Jeffco United for Action. JUFA has never hidden that paid organizers were hired to help us with the campaign – we can’t hide it – it’s right there in our report and we’ve talked opening about it.

We can’t do this on our own – we are doing everything we can to ensure this recall gets on the November ballot. While we knew we had support, we had no way of knowing whether on our own we could get the signatures we needed in just two weeks. So we hired Black Diamond and Strategies 360 to organize and help our over 1,200 volunteers – and it was wildly successful, bringing in more than 100,000 signatures in just over two weeks!

These expenses are not unusual for a campaign like this. What was unusual was the amazing outpouring of support we saw and the roughly 90% validity rate of the signatures we collected! Our volunteers are our life blood, but we also need professional help to navigate this very tricky process.

We still need your help. How? You can:

  • Walk door-to-door to let Jeffco voters know the facts. Remember, more than 70 percent of Jeffco voters don’t have kids in school, so they aren’t seeing the day-to-day impact this has on our kids. Go to Jeffco United for Action to sign up to walk by date and time, by articulation area, or by school area. They will train you and partner you with someone for the walks. Big walks are also planned for Oct. 3 and 10th, so keep those dates open to join us.
  • Donate! The Julie Williams commercial isn’t cheap and we need to get the word out. Anything helps!
  • Pick up a yard sign and display it somewhere prominent — in your front yard or perhaps on your back fence along one of Jeffco’s many trails. Jeffco United’s Facebook page has the latest details on where to pick up signs. They’re asking a $10 donation for signs, and quantities are limited, but that money will be used to print more signs.
  • Volunteer! We need volunteers to help staff tables at back-to-school and curriculum nights, to march in upcoming parades and more. Email Support Jeffco Kids if you can help with those efforts.
  • Show your support for the recall by purchasing a shirt, tote bag, water bottle, hat or more at the Jeffco United for Action CafePress store. There are also buttons, stickers, and even a flask (a default CafePress item, perhaps one that might be useful if you’re watching a board meeting from home, are over 21 and are not operating heavy machinery).

 

Last but not least, read this post at Support Jeffco Kids about the ongoing waste of taxpayer dollars that’s resulted since the board majority’s actions gutted the Jeffco Schools communications department. Answering board correspondence at $60 per hour? Are you kidding?

That’s right — when you, as a taxpayer write the board to make your voice heard, your tax dollars go to compose the generic form letters — at $60 an hour! — to respond to you. That’s completely unacceptable!

The Jeffco Schools contract with Novitas Communications has cost the district $84,062 already and nevertheless, the district renewed the contract for another two months.

Jeffco Schools is not currently advertising for any communications positions. Perhaps they have already chosen an individual to hire and are simply waiting for the upcoming Aug. 27 board meeting, but that agenda hasn’t been posted yet.

Remind them we are listening and watching, because we are.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!

8.14.15 Education, Inc. showing tonight & other updates

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If you have some free time tonight, please consider watching the debut of Education, Inc. at one of four Jeffco locations. The documentary talks about what is really happening in Jeffco, Dougco, and around the country and how it is affecting our schools.

You can watch the trailer here:

Tonight, you can see the documentary at the following Jeffco locations:

Mountair Christian Church, 1390 Benton St., Lakewood
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Arvada West High School, 11595 Allendale Dr., Arvada
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Chatfield High School, 7227 S Simms St., Littleton
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Evergreen Fire Rescue Admin Building (aka Bergen Fire House), 1802 Bergen Pkwy, Evergreen
6 – 8 pm

If you can’t make one of those sessions, there will be one in on August 27 from 4 – 7 pm at the Mayan Theater in Denver, or one on Sept 1 in the Louisville Elementary Library (in Louisville, CO) from 3 – 4 pm. You can also find other upcoming screenings here.

In other Jeffco news, our friends at Support Jeffco Kids have filed a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State, District Attorney’s Office and the Colorado Attorney General after learning about some shady practices by a supposedly charitable organization that backs Witt, Newkirk and Williams. Here’s the story:

Support Jeffco Kids uses the domain name http://www.supportjeffcokids.org. The other organization purchased the .com version of the identical domain and redirected it to their site, in yet another attempt to silence the voices of the Jeffco community. Longtime readers won’t be surprised to learn that the “charitable” organization is the reform-minded Jeffco Students First, who backed WNW during their campaign. JSF has also tried to donations for their own site through dubious Twitter posts about the recall that don’t happen to mention their opposition to said recall.

While they were at it, JSF and even John Newkirk decided to purchase a few more domain names, though notably, domains like recallwitt.com were purchased more than a year ago. Perhaps even JSF doesn’t have faith in WNW?

Regrettably, the .com version of jeffcoschoolboardwatch.org has also been purchased by JSF and will redirect you to their site. While we’re pretty sure our readers can easily tell the difference between JCSBW and JSF, we’re hoping you’ll bookmark JCSBW in your browser so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises when you’re looking for us.

Support Jeffco Kids is also asking the Jeffco community to march with them at upcoming community events. If you’re free this Saturday, please join them at the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival Parade. We also encourage you to join SJK on Sept. 12 at the Arvada Harvest Festival Parade, and again during the weekend of Sept. 18-20 at the Somerset Festival in Clement Park. For more details, please email them at volunteers@supportjeffcokids.org.

And last but hardly least: there’s a non-partisan highly-partisan Jeffco School Board candidate forum scheduled for Monday, Aug. 31 at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood. It’s sponsored by the Centennial Institute, which is directed by Republican John Andrews, founder and former president of the Independence Institute and former Colorado Senate President. Although they claim the debate is “impartial,” we’re not convinced they know what that term really means. Note their copious use of charged language, which we’ve highlighted in red to make it easy:

The reform-minded board majority, Republicans Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams, face a union-backed recall petition. Seats of the two Democratic incumbents and union allies, Leslie Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman, are open as neither is seeking reelection.

As we’ve done in the past, Centennial Institute will host a nonpartisan forum for all contenders, impartially moderated by former Senate President John Andrews. You’re invited to come meet the candidates and learn about the issues.

Of interest: the announcement says all five board seats will face voters this fall. Perhaps that means that WNW and their various backers won’t challenge the petition?

We’d love to see Jeffco recall supporters there. The event requires attendees to RSVP, so please do so using their form or by calling 303-963-3424. The forum is Monday, Aug. 31, from 7 to 8:30 pm on the CCU Lakewood campus, Leprino Hall, 180 S. Garrison, Lakewood, CO 80226.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!