May 15 Board Meeting Agenda: CSEA (Classified Employees) Negotations

secretary-mdTomorrow night, the Board meets in again, this time to go into Executive Session to discuss the District’s negotiations with Jefferson County’s Classified School Employees Association (CSEA).  We apologize for the late notice, but the agenda was only published late today (May 14th).

BOE Meeting 2014-05-15
Date and Time:
 Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.
Where:Education Center 5th Floor Board Room,1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO

Key Agenda Items

Agenda Item: 2.01 Board Direction on CSEA
Type:
 Action, Discussion
Recommended Action:  To move into executive session to discuss CSEA negotiations, pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-6-402(e).

The Board of Education will meet in executive session to discuss negotiations with CSEA, pursuant to C.R.S. 24-6-402(e).

After the vote to move into executive session, this portion of the meeting is closed to the public.  The Board will reconvene in open session at approximately 7:30 pm in the Seminar Room to adjourn the meeting.

Our comments: The CSEA the umbrella organization for the District’s secretaries, technicians, ESL tutors, para-educators, paraprofessionals, clinic aides, maintenance, equipment repair, security, landscape, food service personnel, facility managers, WOTC technicians, campus supervisors, custodians, bus drivers, mechanics, and other employees.  In short, the people who keep the buildings clean, safe, and maintained, get your children safely to and from school, feed them, watch over their health, help the teachers in the classrooms, and keep things running smooth at school and at the District.

If you appreciate your school secretary knowing where your kids are, the custodian for keeping the classrooms clean, the bus drivers for driving safely, and all the facilities your children use being safe and maintained, you need to be there!   

Yes, the Board will go into Executive Session, but by being there at the start, you show WNW that you are aware and concerned about the welfare of the people who watch over the welfare of your children.  As you have supported the teachers and District staff, so should you support the people who make it possible for those same teachers and staff to focus on your kids!

“What Can I Do To Help?” – A Response

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What Can I Do To Help?

One of the latest comments on our site ended with that plea.  We have heard this from many people, and we are sure we will hear it even more as WNW+Miller+Mini-Me continue their march towards turning JeffCo into DougCo North.

It is a question we should all be prepared to answer immediately, succinctly, with specifics, and passion.  Below is a list.  Print it out and keep copies in your wallet or purse.  Post it to your own Facebook page or website.  Hand it out, mail copies, forward it on emails, make car signs, anything and everything to get the word out and get people engaged!

  1. Start writing the Board and speaking at Board meetings. We did a post on this last Saturday (May 3rd) which you can find here.  The Board’s email address is board@jeffco.k12.co.us, their U.S. Mail address is: The Board of Education, Jefferson County,1829 Denver West Dr., Golden CO 80401.  To speak to the Board at the next Board Meeting about a topic that is on the Agenda, click here “Comment on an Agenda item”.  For a topic that is not on the agenda, click here ” Comment on a non-Agenda item”.  If you are going to speak to the Board, be sure to also send them an email or letter on the same topic!  They do not have to (and to our knowledge, have not) answered any questions put to them in a meeting.  But their own Policy requires them to answer all written communications!
  2. Read, Follow, and Participate in not just our blog (jeffcoschoolboardwatch.org)  (and our Facebook page  ‘Jefferson County School Board Watch’), but other groups and organizations websites and Facebook pages as well.  Two that come immediately to mind are SupportJeffCoKids.org (they have a Facebook page as well), and Facebook’s ‘Transparency Jeffco’ as well. Sign up or ‘like’ them, so you will receive updates.
  3. Talk to friends, acquaintances, local business people. If they do not believe you (and WNW+Miller’s antics are hard to believe if you have not seen them), challenge them to come to a Board meeting with you! We have seen many people who are skeptical of our reporting go to a single meeting and come out fighting mad. The arrogance and disrespect WNW+Miller show teachers, parents, community members, Leslie Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman (the other two members of the Board), and District staff members is extraordinary.
  4. Download a sign that says “Concerned? Join Us!” from the site SupportJeffCoKids.org here. Tape to the inside of your car’s rear window, or your cubicle at work, or make a book cover of it.  Anything that shows people you care and can prompt their questions!  (Then you can give them a copy of this list!)
  5. Retired JeffCo teacher?  Contact the Jefferson County Education Association – Retired or JCEA-R here: jcea.coloradoea.org/jcea-r. Many of their members have spoken at Board meetings on these issues.
  6. Write letters to the Denver Post, local community newspapers, the local TV stations, local radio stations, blogs, etc., every time WNW+Miller does something outrageous or to counter the propaganda WNW’s money backers are spewing out.
  7. Get involved in the PTA at your children’s school, your grandchildren’s school, or simply your neighborhood school. Be a voice in the education of JeffCo’s kids plus help that PTA group understand what is happening and what is at stake.

These are just a few ideas. There are lot of other paths you can follow as well. The key is to get the word out! If all the public hears is blurbs from WNW apologists, then soon the public will begin to believe that the WNW spin is the truth. We believe that their lies cannot stand up to the actual Truth, but Truth has to be gotten out there! Otherwise, their warped vision of reality wins by forfeit.

But if we can get the real story out to public and keep it in front of them, countering every propaganda spin WNW and their backers come up with, we believe that we will be able to sweep them out of power at the first opportunity. And that opportunity will come more quickly the more people get involved and the more involved people get!

In the meantime:

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

WNW Names DougCo Asst. Supt. as JeffCo Superintendent

mini meWNW spent $40,000 on a two and a half month nationwide search only to settle on Daniel McMinimee, the Assistant Superintendent of Douglas County.

On a 3-2 vote, WNW voted McMinimee as the ‘finalist’ in the search.  McMinimee has been the public point person for many of DougCo’s most controversial changes, including reducing Douglas County’s graduation requirements while cutting staff and increasing teacher workloads (see 9News article here).

All of this is despite the fact that Witt said in November “We want to be the best Jeffco we can be, not Douglas or Denver County….” (Denver Post, Nov 22, 2013)

McMinimee also acted as DougCo’s lead negotiator in the contract talks with the DougCo teachers in 2012 that ended with the District refusing to sign a contract, and instead entering into individual contracts with each teacher.  Allegations of favoritism, overwork, political revenge, and a flight of highly experienced teachers have continued to beset DougCo ever since.

He has also drawn fire from the school advocacy group, Strong Schools Coalition, for giving out misleading and incorrect information at a public board meeting, later excusing it as ‘preliminary information only’.

McMinimee was also instrumental in the creation of the Douglas County School District voucher program that tried to redirect school district money to private religious schools through a fake charter school.  A State District Court judge issued an injunction, stopping it.  The District appealed and won, but the case was then appealed to the Colorado State Supreme Court, which accepted the case in March of this year.

The DougCo school board has also recently made changes to severely restrict public comment opportunities and times at General Meetings and has taken to going into Executive Session (which the public cannot attend) almost half the time.

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Can we say he lied?

When Witt said that WNW wanted the District to the best Jeffco, perhaps he then muttered under his breath “and that means turning us into Douglas County.”  Because that is the path WNW are taking the District down. Also, what was the purpose of a nationwide search that cost taxpayers $40,000?  At the February Board Meeting, Jill Fellman asked Witt if the Superintendent had already been selected (by WNW) and the search was only a ruse.  Was Fellman right?  Is this the kind of honesty and transparency we can expect of WNW?  Because when we expect to be misled and lied to, we have yet to be disappointed!
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What is WNW’s next step?

We at JeffCo School Board Watch came into this expecting the worst, but cautiously hoping for something better.  We are not so disappointed as we are bitterly affirmed.  WNW is going to continue down the path of trying to make Jefferson County over in Douglas County’s image.  If you want to know what they will do next, just look at what happened in DougCo.  In fact, the next step is already being taken…WNW+Miller are apparently already looking at hiring a PR firm just for the Board.  It seems that Witt may have been talking directly to the Communications staff about this (listen to the audio of the May 1st meeting).

Right now, we can trust what comes out of the District, although not the Board.  With a new PR firm and a clean sweep of the District Communications team, that will most likely stop.

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What do we do now?

This fight is not over yet.  Not by a long shot.  But as we warned you back in February when WNW+Miller forced out Dr. Stevenson, this is not going to be a sprint, but a marathon.  Or another analogy, we just lost a big battle…but not the war.  They can only win their war on public education if we give up fighting.

And that is the first and most important thing you can do – keep fighting!

Specific things you can do in this fight, includes bombarding the Board with formal emails, demanding answers. As we noted in our post last Saturday, Board Policy requires that they respond to all written (and email) communications with a written response.  You can send the email to board@jeffco.k12.co.us or an actual physical letter to: The Board of Education, Jefferson County,1829 Denver West Dr., Golden CO 80401.

Be respectful, but firm.  Remember, they may not behave like it, but WNW are our employees!  Call them to task!

If you are not sure what to ask, there were a number of suggestions we made in last Saturday’s post.  We can now add a few more:

  • Does the Board’s selection of Mr. McMinimee mean the Board endorses the actions taken by the Douglas County School District?  Does the Board now mean to emulate them?
  • Why did the Board spend $40,000 to do a nationwide search, only to choose from next door?  Was this just window dressing?
  • Will the Board sanction the reduction in graduation requirements that Mr. McMinimee pushed through in Douglas County?
  • How does the Board plan to prevent the type of experienced teacher flight experienced in Douglas County now that they have named the architect of the Douglas County program to head JeffCo?
  • Mr. Witt stated in November that he wanted the District to be the best Jefferson County model, not the Douglas or Denver models.  How does he reconcile that with following the Douglas County playbook and now naming the number two person at Douglas County to head the JeffCo School District?

We are sure you can think of some others.

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Final thoughts

WNW+Miller have been playing the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy pretty well so far.  They have succeeded in getting many of the charter school parents on their side, and some of the GT parents as well by giving both groups extra money.  But now, perhaps, the true nature of these extremists will become more apparent.  The voucher program that DougCo is trying to push through would not only hurt the regular public schools, but the charter ones as well.  It seems that when Douglas County announced their effort, the vast majority of calls (2/3’s – see Denver Post article Mar 18, 2011) into the District were from parents who were already sending their kids to private school!  While they were initially turned down, if the State Supreme Court rules in DougCo’s favor, you can expect those same parents to dis-enroll their children from their private schools, enroll them in DougCo, then apply to use the voucher program to re-enroll their kids in those same or similar private schools.  All of this with a ‘wink, wink, nod, nod’ from the District.  At $4,575 per student, that would amount to $1.8 million dollars just for 400 students.  Two thirds of it would be for students who would have been going the private route anyway!

And JeffCo is twice DougCo’s size.  How would the charter school parents have felt if their $3.7 million went not to them, but to private, religious schools?  Because that is what happened in DougCo.

It is time that the GT and Charter communities wake up and realize that WNW is offering to upgrade their airline seats to first class while at the same time WNW is busy canceling maintenance on the plane and now wants to siphon off the aviation gas it needs to fly.

We need to come together, or Witt’s unspoken wish to become DougCo will get closer to coming true.

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

Superintendent Interviews – Update

election_ballot_boxWe just learned that the Board has now entered into Executive Session at the Education Center (1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO) to interview of the finalists.

They expect to reconvene in Open Session at 3:30 p.m.  today.  In that Session, they will discuss and then vote on  the new Superintendent.

If it is at all possible, show up!  We need as many people as possible to show the new Superintendent that this is NOT Douglas County!  That WNW do NOT represent the majority opinion of JeffCo!

So come out and make sure your voice is heard and…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!