Members of the group Jeffco Kids First, the group working with Laura Boggs to manage and promote the slate of Shelton, Miks and Wilhite (SMW), regularly make comments comparing what their candidates have raised vs what Varda, Reed, and Parker have raised.
SMW supporters, in virtually every post on social media, are obsessed with pointing out the fact that VRP have accepted the endorsement and donations from the Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA). Gasp. The big scary union…a union that doesn’t have a big union boss, but is actually made up of and led by the Jeffco teachers working with your children.
And then comes a big bombshell from Dave Johnson, another candidate for the Jeffco School Board District 2 seat.
While we’re no stranger to dark money in Jeffco, the implications of this revelation should have everyone asking themselves, “If they asked Dave, and he said no, who said yes?”
Guess it remains to be seen how much they support them. Perhaps the conservative slate is neither “grassroots” nor “independent.”
Meanwhile, Paula Reed took campaign finance head on this week, talking about her fundraising strategy. Note: one can hardly be surprised that a retired 30-year Jeffco teacher accepted an endorsement and financial support from her Jeffco colleagues.
While JCSBW fully endorses Paula Reed for the District 2 seat, we also want to give props to Dave Johnson for exposing a hard truth here.
JCSBW supports three candidates — Varda, Reed, and Parker — who will support all of our local schools and all our students. October 25th is the last day you can mail your ballot. Find a drop box near you and vote today.
Laura Boggs is puppeteering your local school board election – again.
For those who are new to the Jeffco Schools scene, Laura Boggs is a former Jeffco School Board of Education Member who was censured – twice, for agreeing with a radio host that the then superintendent “should be shot” and for threatening to “tear this county apart.” Yes, that Laura Boggs:
She’s also known to have hidden behind an easel in a meeting trying to avoid being noticed, and even wrestled a high school classroom from a teacher’s control and then told the students that school is “stupid.” Yes, that Laura Boggs.
Unfortunately this very same effective manipulator Laura Boggs, “conservative” “reformer,” who, by the way, is really neither, has been identified as the mastermind behind the current opposition slate of Shelton, Miks, and Wilhite (SMW). People have been saying on social media they want proof; well, here’s the proof, clear as day.
This email screenshot is being spread all over social media in response to outrage that Varda, Parker, and Reed didn’t show to a Christians Who Care forum. More on that later. In this email, the forum organizer clearly identifies SMW as “her candidates.” Enough said. This alone should give everyone pause and raise your blood pressure, and hopefully, send you running to tell everyone you know who might be considering voting for “her candidates” to think again.
When the campaign took issue with Boggs being copied on the emails, this is how the forum organizer responded:
Further, Boggs has been an active part of the “grassroots” “independent” group that is promoting the opposition slate since the beginning, as seen in this Facebook discussion from January 2021.
Elections matter. We say this every election. And, seemingly, every election, Laura Boggs tries to come back. So what’s at stake this time? What’s different this time?
The short version: the (“conservative”) politicization of school boards on a national level as part of a national strategy. Laura Boggs and her Jeffco pals are trying to tap into this national strategy.
The above quote comes from Fairfax County, VA—one of the largest school districts in the nation–where a so-called “grassroots” group calling itself Parents Defending Education is working for a Republican takeover of what should be nonpartisan school boards.
In one recent example, a parent told the Fairfax County school board that the high school library contained two books containing pedophilia—a claim that is completely untrue. As is often the case with such groups, Parents Defending Education isn’t particularly interested in facts, instead retweeting her public comment and repeating the allegation. Conservative school board candidates also continued to repeat the lie, arguing, “I believe that parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”
Mind you, no such books exist in the school library.
The story also notes that a group of parents in that district have been fighting to block new diversity and inclusion programs in the school district there, as part of a broader national movement led by people opposed to lessons on racism, history, and LBGTQ issues—often referred to by the now-population catchphrase “critical race theory.”
Bringing it Home
And now, Laura Boggs and Friends are cutting-and-pasting onto your social media all over Jeffco…
Careful readers may have noticed that and several other similar phrases being thrown about on social media and news stories in Jeffco. We’ll post a few screenshots for those of you who, wisely, have avoided social media for a while. For example:
Or there’s this one:
And this one, in response to a post for Varda, Reed, and Parker on Nextdoor:
Hive mind? Just a steady stream of slogans from the same echo chamber?
Unfortunately, it’s part of this larger strategy to politicize school boards—one that has been alive and well in Jeffco for some time now.
Today, JCSBW just wants to focus on one of the issues: all the stuff found under the catchphrase “Critical Race Theory.”
That battle over Advanced Placement United States History from 2014? Here it is again, wrapped in shiny new packaging.
The claim is that (mostly white) children might feel badly about themselves if they learn about our country’s past. Last time around the fear was that our children might not become patriotic if they knew our country’s history (i.e., American Exceptionalism).
If the opposition is elected, we’re going to be right back to this same battle.
First, a recent Colorado Sun article highlights a curious pattern in which conservative candidates around Colorado are focused on the same issues.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Sun also reported that in Colorado Springs, Church Voter Guides published candidate responses to a series of questions, including queries about critical race theory, sex education and coronavirus protocols, and the El Paso County Republican Party sent a questionnaire to board candidates in that county that included questions about critical race theory, mask and vaccine mandates, and false allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
See the pattern yet?
If not, how about this from the Summit County School District where another so-called “grassroots” group claims to be concerned about budget issues, academics, and politics in schools.
One of the Summit County candidates is also very concerned about school library books (just like in Texas), and wants to see books with “left-leaning points of view” balanced with books from a conservative perspective. She also is concerned about social justice and gender identity being incorporated into coursework, claiming it’s “the job of parents” to teach those issues at home.” Not content with that viewpoint, she raised the bar, claiming that teachers think they have the right to “almost raise our kids for us.”
One version of this played out here in Jeffco night before last, at a candidate forum by a group calling itself “Christians Who Care” —a group that is loosely organized at best because JCSBW couldn’t find any information about the group at all. Much ado has been made on social media because the pro-public education candidates, Danielle Varda, Mary Parker, and Paula Reed pulled out of the forum at the last minute.
Let’s start with the questions that candidates were provided ahead of the forum (typed as written in the screenshot, with three bolded by JCSBW for emphasis):
What are your qualifications for being a Board of Education candidate, and what do you see is the most important issue you would like to address?
55% of Jeffco’s 3rd graders are not at grade level reading. 74% of sixth graders are not at grade level math. Overall student achievement as declined as has student enrollment. In contrast, annual spending continues to increase. How do you explain these statistics and trends, and as a Board of Education member, how do you plan to address these issues?
We are aware that the Union has endorsed certain Board of Education candidates. How does a Union endorsement or non-endorsement influence your decisions, when making critical education-related decisions?
Several of the most highly contested issues in the educational systems in Jefferson County relate to mandated masking and vaccinations. As a Board of Education member, how would you address parents’ concerns? [JCSBW note: Neither Jeffco nor Colorado has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students and any future mandate would be approved by the state legislature, not the school board.]
As a member of the Board of Education, how would you address the increasing intrusion of government into educational systems wherein the rights and responsibilities of parents are eroded?
From a Christian and parent perspective, how will you address the canceled culture/Woke mentality in schools with special attention to the political themes of Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory?
No wonder VRP declined to show to this forum. It was clearly a trap.
JCSBW apparently is not “woke” enough to understand what “woke indoctrination,” “woke curricula” or “woke mentality” are, much less “canceled culture,” but none of them are tied to grassroots movements.
We know you’re busy. We are too (see, for example, how well we’re keeping up with this blog!).
However, busy won’t help us keep moving Jeffco forward. We remember 2013, 2014, and 2015 all too well: disrespect, drama, and constant turmoil. We don’t want to return to that, which means we need to support our current school board members in November’s election.
This fall, Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon, and Ron Mitchell are running for re-election to the Jeffco School Board. Both Rupert (District 1) and Harmon (District 2) have opponents, while Mitchell (District 5) is running uncontested. Some of you might be thinking, “So all is well, right? Reasonable people who are listening to all of Jeffco will continue to retain the board majority regardless of what happens.”
Our response: DON’T. GET. COMPLACENT.
The five board members who were elected in 2015 — Rupert, Harmon, and Mitchell, along with Amanda Stevens and Ali Lasell — have worked hard to restore respect, collaboration, and careful decision-making to Jeffco Schools and the community. Don’t mistake respect, civility, and thoughtful discussions for any suggestion that they always vote in tandem. They don’t. On several occasions board members have differed in their opinions, and yes, their vote.
That’s as it should be. And frankly, it’s been a relief for those of us who regularly attend or watch Jeffco School Board meetings to see people taking each other and the issues seriously.
No one has been turned away at public comment since the recall. No one has been insulted by board members. Angry parents, students, and community members have had their chance to address the board when they disagree with a proposal — and Rupert, Harmon, Mitchell, Stevens and Lasell have listened to those voices and made decisions accordingly.
Or if you want the bullet-point version, the current five-member board of education has:
Restored respect and civility and professionalism to the Jeffco community, inside the board room and out
Expanded public comment opportunities and discussion on all issues facing Jeffco Schools
Hired a nationally-known, world-class superintendent, Dr. Jason Glass, to lead Jeffco forward
Become more competitive in attracting and retaining teachers
Continued to address growth areas in the district, such as northwest Arvada and west-central Jeffco
Celebrated with our Jeffco Schools as schools received 31 awards from the state of Colorado, and 11 Jeffco high schools ranked in the U.S. News and World Report top 50.
How can you help?
First, share Brad Rupert’s video on Facebook, Twitter, any other social media sites you use, and through your email network. A lot of Jeffco voters haven’t been paying attention since 2015, and they probably wonder what the clean slate accomplished. Let them know!
Also take time to read and share Superintendent Glass’ blog, Advance Jeffco. He’s encouraging dialogue and questions, and it’s a great place to talk about how to move Jeffco forward.
And walk! Volunteer here to walk or to look for other campaign opportunities (like a house party this Friday). We need people to let Jeffco voters know what Rupert, Harmon and Mitchell have accomplished during the last two years, and why they should vote for them to serve Jeffco students another four years.
We’re finally on a solid path with thoughtful, experienced decision-makers and a deeply knowledgeable superintendent, all working together from the board table in the best interest of Jeffco. Our students, parents, teachers, staff and community have waited a long time for this. We need to keep moving our district forward, rather than returning to failed policies of the past.
Chances are good that if you still have a ballot in hand, someone has contacted you and reminded you to get that ballot in by Nov. 8. Even my weather app is asking if I know where my polling place is. (Answer: yes, but I already voted.)
Nevertheless, let’s say it again: We need everyone who supports public education to vote Yes on 3A and 3B, the Jeffco Schools mill and bond. We can’t risk another 2013, where very important issues — in that case, the composition of the majority of our school board — was decided by a very small group of the population. The issue that year was not that the majority of Jeffco supported WNW, but that the majority of Jeffco voters did not vote. Don’t let that happen again.
“We track how construction costs have gone up since that $99 million bond was put forward, and I think it’s an incredible story that we need to tell. That in an environment where costs were rising 5 to 7 percent per annum — that would be more than 21 percent over the course of these projects — this staff was able to deliver every single project that it promised to the public in Jefferson County and did it in a timely basis. To do it on budget in this environment really means they did it 20 percent under budget.
“We asking for funds to allow us to grow this district in an appropriate manner with the stewardship of those funds that has been demonstrated since the 2004 bond to be unparalleled.
Phillip Infelise, chief collaborator, P-Cubed Partners, LLC and member of Jeffco Schools Capital Asset Advisory Committee, April 21, 2016 meeting with the Jeffco BOE
We think that speaks for itself. Please get out and vote, and remember to go all the way to the bottom of the ballot to vote yes on 3A and 3B.
The Koch Brothers, supposed champions of “local control,” are once again trying to influence Jeffco elections–in this case, the mill and bond.
For what reason? If the graphic here looks familiar, it’s because it is. We used it last year as the Koch Brothers poured money in from the outside in a wildly unsuccessful attempt to save the inept and controversy-ridden school board posts of Witt, Williams, and Newkirk. Well, the Koch’s network has so much money in it, they don’t know where to spend it, so they’re back and taking aim at Jeffco…again!
No one will forget the fact that the Koch Brothers and their political machine, AFP, directed hundreds of thousands in expenditures in Jeffco to prop up a school board majority that they probably never even met. The results had to be one of their worst investments ever: a 2-to-1 humiliation with voters rejecting their ideological intervention.
We thought that they’d think twice about meddling in a place as fiercely independent as Jeffco again. Looks like we were wrong.
Check this out: a full-on press by the Kochs to do what? Prevent the funding of our schools on a local level, even though the state and TABOR prevent adequate state funding of schools.
The Kochs and their allies profess to prioritize “local control” but then they’re working against communities funding their schools when the state can’t. What’s really going on?
With respect to the superficial allegations made by the Kochs, here are a few observations from a local e-newsletter we received this morning:
“First, PERA – that’s mandated at the state level, not the local level. Concerns about PERA need to be addressed at the Capital – not taken out on local school districts.
“What is the basis for allegations that funding isn’t going to the classroom?
“I’ve heard the statement made that ‘Jeffco is too top heavy – money is wasted on district-level staff.'”
The latest data from the Colorado Department of Education shows that for the 2015-16 school year, Jeffco had 4787 teachers and 412 administrators. Of the 412 administrators 307 were principals or assistant principals in Jeffco’s 153 schools. That leaves just 105 administrators at the Ed Center.
In comparison, DPS, which is very close in size to Jeffco, has 813 administrators.
“The district is very transparent with where the bond funds will go and where the mill levy funds will go. Please do your own research to understand how 3A & 3B deserve your YES vote! Jeffco graduate, grandparent, community leader and education advocate, Marta Murray, reminds us that the Sunshine Review recognized Jeffco for financial transparency.
“Now – more than ever before – we need your help! Yes, we need you to vote YES on 3A and 3B. But we also need you on social media, on the phone and walking door-to-door to share information on the benefits of a YES vote – and the ramifications of a NO vote!
“The Board of Education would have to direct staff how to decrease the budget. Some possible impacts:
School closures and consolidations
Year round schools
Changing boundaries and transportation radius
Limited ability to meet basic deferred maintenance
With the AFP announcement of their impending social media strike against school districts across the state, it’s imperative that we have everyone on deck in this final stretch! Please sign up to walk – not only in your neighborhood, but in others across the district. Please also sign up to phone bank!
Can’t Walk on Saturdays? Days or times for Phone Banking Don’t Work for Your Schedule?! Write Nate or Chris – they can provide turf to walk and people to call on your schedule!
Boots on the Boulevard #Yeson3A3B Style!
Dust off your boots and get back out on the boulevard! Please join us this coming Friday from 3:30-6p for Boots on the Boulevard 4.0!! Make your own signs supporting 3A and 3B or bring your yard sign!
This action is IN ADDITION to walking, knocking, and talking to voters which is the most effective way to get our community to vote #Yeson3A3B
Below are the intersections for this action. Go to the one that is most convenient for you. See you on the Blvd. this FRIDAY.