JeffCo Evangelical Christian: Why I Support the Recall

FaithfulFedUpA Special Note to JCSBW Readers: It’s no secret that Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk have been specifically courting the evangelical Christian crowd as a voting bloc.  Many, maybe most of us, that write for JCSBW are Christian too, though we see some issues a little differently than our school board majority. 

We have shared a lot of important information with you the last two years, and at this point we imagine that we’re “preaching to the choir” much of the time. That’s one of the reasons that we have kept asking you to share our stories, whether by email or on Facebook. This is a classic case.

We are very impressed by this letter in response to our “Faithful and Fed Up” request and are guessing that you probably know some good Christian people who need the “permission” that this reader is giving. So with two weeks to go before people get their ballots, please do share.

I’m an evangelical Christian and will be voting to recall Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk.

I attend a conservative Christian church in Jeffco. Probably not the most conservative church in Jeffco, but pretty conservative. I don’t know everyone’s political backgrounds, but it seems like most members are Republican, with some Independents and I think there are a few Democrats too. I’m not the most conservative in my church, but maybe average. I’m a Republican who works in a corporate environment.

My family and I have been hearing people at our church that are discontented with this board but hesitate to vote against them because the board calls themselves conservative and Christian, and so the people tend to believe everything this board says. I think that Christians need to look long and hard at this board majority, and then know that they do have permission to vote against them. I do like that they are Christians, but just because they are Christians does necessarily not make them good public officials.

Here’s  my thinking. My biggest concern is glorifying His Kingdom however I can through my life. I tend to have views consistent with most Republicans, but I am sometimes slow to choose sides, especially on local issues, until I see that one side is clearly working to advance His Kingdom through their values. I do understand that elected officials aren’t appointed to force Christianity on the community, but I do think I can tell when their Christian values are shining through their actions. That is important to me.

I don’t question the faith of Julie Williams, John Newkirk, and Ken Witt. That’s dangerous territory. We are all sinners and we are all made in Christ’s image. We have to take one another’s faith statements at face value. I believe that they are Christians and they are probably good family members.

What I do have a problem with is how they treat others from their public office.

You see, I don’t think God really cares that much about exactly how schools are structured, whether there’s a teachers’ union or not, how compensation packages work, and all the legal stuff we get involved in. My reading of scripture is that Christ says to leave worry about all that stuff behind. Now, there’s a time and a place for those questions, and our public officials have to make tough choices. I get that, but I don’t think that God sides with one side or the other very much on those kinds of issues. God wants us to do our best but God doesn’t take very many hardline policy stances. I’ve heard from enough teachers and other parents that have concerns that I trust that there are two sides to all of these issues, anyway. So I don’t think that God cares that much about the exact decisions, but God does care that these issues get resolved humanely, truthfully, respectfully. That’s not what I see happening.

I do see fault on both sides, or maybe it’s on all sides. Still, here’s what I’d challenge my Christian friends to do. You know those Planned Parenthood videos? Maybe you watched one, and were shocked and disgusted, but if you’re fair-minded, maybe you thought “well this looks bad but maybe this is a little out of context and heavily edited.” But then you watched more of the videos and it’s clear, there’s a pattern of terrible problems.

The same thing happened to me with the school board majority in Jeffco. A friend of mine forwarded a clip from one of their meetings about a year ago. The behavior in the video by Ken Witt was a lot less shocking than what’s in the Planned Parenthood video, but that doesn’t make it right and I couldn’t stop being bothered by it.

I thought maybe he was having a bad night or the clip was taken out of context. I started watching other videos of the school board. The more I watched other videos and live-streamed part of a couple other meetings, the more I saw the same patterns. Ken Witt being rude and dismissive to speakers and to the other board members. John Newkirk and Julie Williams just sitting there and not speaking up. It was totally clear that at times they weren’t being open about their plans. Something is going on there and it seems like they are being guided. They make decisions without input from the other board members, and it seems sometimes it really is in secret. They don’t seem to take seriously those who have worked in the district for a long time, or parents, or teachers, who disagree with them. They can’t agree with everyone, but I just expect them to take them seriously and think it through. I know how I’ve felt when liberal politicians just dismiss more conservative points of view; this is no different. On top of that, I do believe that they are not following their own policies about transparency and notice.

I think about Micah 6:8: “What Does The Lord Require of Thee? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

My ideal public official is a Christian who’s guided by their Christian values. If a Christian seems to be acting for some other purposes, then the “Christian” label doesn’t make that much difference to me in their public role. Some people have accused those that are against the board majority of having poor behavior. I’ve seen some of that too, but I also know that people act that way when they’re not being listened to. That happens in any business environment where employees and clients don’t feel heard. I don’t think that Ken Witt just disagrees; he seems to show no signs of listening. He has to show that he is listening.

It’s Ken Witt’s job, and the job of John Newkirk and Julie Williams, to create that environment. They are not doing that. It doesn’t excuse all the behaviors from their opponents, but the buck has to stop with them. The pattern is clear: they do not seem to be acting humbly or respectfully. I hope that if they survive the recall, they will turn that around, and if they don’t survive the recall, they will figure out ways to prioritize respect and humility a little more in whatever public lives they later have. They may be Christians and I appreciate that, but in my opinion the way they have exercised power has not done honor to Christ’s name.

-Anonymous

2013-2015 Poll Results: The Huge School Board Stories That Didn’t Make the Cut

A few days ago, we initiated a poll, asking you to pick a Top 10 out of 30 disturbing stories from the last two years under the rule of this new Jeffco School Board majority. More than 400 people voted, and we knew the results would surprise us, but we think the biggest surprise is how many big stories didn’t make the Top 10.

Now, all of these stories got more than 100 votes, so we think this emphasizes just how huge the other stories are. Couldn’t you see this as a Top 10 standing alone?

WNW reject the well-reasoned findings of a costly, neutral fact-finder that strongly recommends not using pilot evaluations for helping to determine teacher salaries because the evaluations were not designed with a link to compensation in mind…showing that they never intended to listen to the pricey fact-finder anyway.

John Newkirk and Dan McMinimee speak at an Evergreen Tea Party event where the “American Freedom Party,” an avowed White Supremacist political party, is listed as a co-sponsor. After intense questioning by parents, an angry Newkirk calls the listing of “American Freedom Party” as a “typo” for what should have been “Americans for Prosperity” (the Koch Brothers) despite the fact that “typos” only usually involve one or two letter differences. The genesis of how THAT mistake could be made is never adequately explained.

WNW drive off former Superintendent, and national Finalist for Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Cindy Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson had announced her plans to leave at the end of the school year, but they couldn’t wait to get her out to implement their agenda.

John Newkirk personally purchases website domain names designed to trick readers who want to see information critical of the board. Instead, the similarly named websites purchased by Mr. Newkirk redirect readers to a website supportive of him and that he personally helps fund. Aren’t the voters of Jeffco “already with you,” John? We’ve seen no such activity on the other side of this debate.

⋅ Regular school board attendees notice a disturbing trend of Ken Witt regularly talking “down” more to women far more than to men. His treatment of Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman is the stuff of legend, but his tone with Julie Williams was also much more condescending than his tone with Newkirk, and he seemed to direct this kind of boorish behavior toward female staff, too. Insiders have even informed us that they observed him recommending that women “button up” more often. We get it: at times everyone’s comments can be misconstrued, but Ken Witt can’t seem to help himself.

WNW approve loans to charter schools that have a serious history of financial mismanagement.  Their promise to be “fiscally responsible” seemed to have very limited applicability. When it comes to charters, the principle doesn’t seem to apply. A documented history of waste and poor budget management, and out of control spending? WNW’s solution: give them more money, including some extra thrown in for a marketing budget! We like charters too, but bad ones should be allowed to fail.

⋅ Dan McMinimee, likely at the direction of Ken Witt, tells John Hickenlooper not to come to Jeffco for a bill signing, citing “security concerns.” Never mind that Jeffo hastily arranged a Katy Perry concert (which Hickenlooper attended!) at the very same school Hickenlooper planned to visit, and that governors of all political persuasions have a long history of signing bills around the state without politics interfering. This ultimately seemed like nothing more than a naked political move.

The Jeffco District Court had to demand that the school board negotiate in good faith with the teachers. Of course, authentic good faith cannot really be demanded, but after WNW’s repeated insistence that they were bargaining in good faith and the teachers weren’t, thankfully the court intervened and made the right call.

John Newkirk, in describing the hardships that he sees (mostly imagined in Jeffco)  for charter school families, absurdly compares charter families’ situations to African-American families in the Deep South in the 1960s. No more explanation needed.

⋅ Responding to concerns about a real exodus of Jeffco teachers, Mr. Newkirk implies that it’s ineffective teachers that are leaving the district, despite the personal stories of hundreds of teachers officially deemed highly effective that are leaving and blaming it on this new board majority, and an avalanche of data to back it up.

Can’t believe that none of these made our Top 10? Agree with us that in any typical year, any one of these could make for THE top story of the year?

Just keep these in mind as we dig into our Top 10 in the coming days. It can’t be exaggerated how controlled by outsiders, unfit to govern, and destructive this board majority has been.

10.4.15 WNW Rewrite History Again

Have you seen the latest mailer from Americans for Prosperity?

One side claims that equal funding is working. Their proof? ACT scores (from tests taken before charter schools were equally funded) and graduation rates from 2012-13, before Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams had been elected.

That’s right: the AFP claims that actions taken by the current board majority months after they were elected influenced events that had happened before the election.

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Yep, this is another attempt to rewrite history.

The mailer references a February 2014 Denver Post article about improved graduation rates in Jeffco. The rates are from the 2012-13 academic year, and those students graduated nearly six months before the 2013 election.

The mailer also references ACT scores, but full equalization wasn’t approved until after all of Jeffco’s juniors had taken the 2015 ACT. How would that work? Oh wait, it doesn’t!

We’d also like to remind our readers that as recently as Thursday evening, WNW were citing “poor” ACT scores as the very reason they need to appoint a new membership to the newly-formed District Accountability  Committee and throw out all the work that has been done by volunteers to write bylaws for the new DAC in the past few months. One part of Newkirk’s DAC membership proposal reads as follows: “Whereas, the Board of Education has concluded that the percentage of students meeting the college and career ready standards on the ACT test taken by all students in Colorado is not acceptable…” (emphasis ours). Witt also has argued that the urgency of this issue is why they need to rush ahead with a new DAC membership, even if the application makes it clear the membership application process is a farce.

Don’t forget that WNW also tried to censor AP classes and has suggested that they’d rather see other options like concurrent enrollment instead of Advanced Placement.

Note that a previous AFP mailer claimed that so-called reforms like pay for performance — which Witt didn’t even introduce until August 2014 — also increased the 2012-13 graduation rate. The AFP is clearly delusional.

The reality?

  • Improvements in the number of Jeffco students who are career and college ready is due to the dedication and diligence of their teachers and parents
  • Improvements in Jeffco AP scores is due to students, parents, teachers and community members who fought long and hard last fall to keep those classes untouched by WNW’s partisan agenda
  • Improvements in the 2012-13 Jeffco Schools graduation rate are due to the dedication of teachers, staff, and former Superintendent Cindy Stevenson, and those largely took place between 2008 and 2013.
  • All five of the clean slate candidates — Amanda Stevens, Ali Lasell, Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon and Ron Mitchell — have said they will will keep equalized funding, so our Jeffco charter families can rest easy on that issue.

Our teachers continue to be dedicated and our students continue to succeed, but this is despite the havoc wreaked by Witt, Newkirk and Williams. Meanwhile, more than a thousand teachers have chosen to leave rather than deal with the lack of respect shown to them by WNW, and more are considering it.

It’s time to recall Witt, Newkirk and Williams. Please spread the word. Make sure that your friends, family, and co-workers know that WNW and the AFP are rewriting history again, and set them straight on the facts.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

 

 

9.28.15 Apply now for the new Jeffco DAC — or miss out

urgentAs we mentioned in our last post, the Jeffco Schools Strategic Planning Advisory Council (SPAC) is splitting into two groups. The new District Accountability Committee (DAC) will focus on the accountability side of things, and the new SPAC will focus solely on strategic planning.

You may also remember Witt, Newkirk, and Williams want to start fresh, and told district staff to solicit applications for review on Oct. 1.

That’s Thursday.  THIS Thursday.

The district posted application information and other important details today, and we hope you will apply.

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Here’s the catch: you need to apply ASAP because the Jeffco School Board will be reviewing applications at this Thursday’s meeting. Witt was extremely cagey about the application process at last week’s meeting, refusing to provide a specific date by which application should be received and generally rushing the process without any details.

Witt said they’d review the applications they receive at the Oct. 1 meeting, but people could still submit applications. We’re not sure how that process will work, but we suspect that they gave advance notice to individuals they want on the new DAC so they’ll have those applications on Thursday.

It would be very easy for Witt, Newkirk and Williams to look through the applications they’ve received, declare that they have more than enough qualified candidates, and appoint DAC members on Thursday. They’ve said the official vote for members will be at the Oct. 15 meeting, but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually consider any new applications after Oct. 1–unless one of their people procrastinates past the Oct 1 deadline. We wouldn’t count on that.

If you’re a Jeffco Schools parent, administrator, teacher, or a member of Jeffco’s business community, we encourage you to apply. We especially urge you to apply if you happen to chair or be a member of your child’s school accountability committee.

The application form is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1y3teI4hpNSTulVH1_S3_o2EyKn8wGi8J964P1ab7Xyo/viewform?c=0&w=1

Don’t delay! Witt won’t wait.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

 

 

9.26.15 WNW illustrate why they’re being recalled

Chances are you’ve already seen the videos from the Sept. 24 board meeting. Colorado Pols said it best: Ken Witt Presents: How to Make the Case for Your Own Recall.

It was that bad. The whole meeting was bad. The three items we highlighted in the last post about this meeting? All three of them proved our suspicions. If you’re short on time, here’s the summary version:

  1. Witt, Newkirk and Williams are going for the nuclear option on the new District Accountability Committee (DAC), which was formerly SPAC – the Strategic Planning Advisory Council. They want to wipe it out and start over.
  2. Witt, Newkirk and Williams approved a K-6 school instead of the district-recommended K-8 at the Candelas site and then patted themselves on the back.
  3. A proposed budget increase for Jeffco security was pushed off for another month, and although WNW seemed to suggest they might vote for it, we also saw hints that another surprise is just waiting in the wings.

Now, the details.

Proposed DAC bylaws

The first agenda item was a second review of the proposed new DAC bylaws. The usual process is to review the bylaws, ask a few questions, make any additional revisions, and vote. That didn’t happen.

Instead, Newkirk revived his nuclear option and offered a lengthy motion detailing the membership of the new DAC. Surprise! He didn’t bother to share it with the full board until around 1 pm that afternoon. Somehow, both Witt and Williams had plenty of time to sit down and read it thoroughly. Dahlkemper and Fellman, meanwhile, had no idea that they should even expect anything new to be added with a board meeting only a few hours away. They told Newkirk they were not ready to vote on an item they had just received that afternoon, and had not had time to review it on account of things like work obligations.

And then it got ugly. You know the routine: Witt makes sneering remarks that suggest Fellman and Dahlkemper didn’t adequately prepare for the meeting and condescendingly implies that they aren’t very bright, while Fellman and Dahlkemper argue for following board policy in which a proposal is introduced at one meeting and voted on at the next. (One quote from Witt: “Ms. Dahlkemper, this has been read to you twice, but we can continue to go over it until you feel like you understand all of the terms.”) Dahlkemper and Fellman fought the good fight, as they have EVERY SINGLE MEETING since the board majority was elected. Colorado Pols included this quote from Dahlkemper’s response after she reached a point of extreme frustration, and it’s worth printing again here:

But I will tell you – the mistake that you are making right now is that we have a policy on the table about how we govern. You are throwing governance right out the window because you have some agenda that you feel so critical that we have to vote on tonight…that even a simple request that is to say, “Look, our policy says we review it, and then we vote on it.” And don’t you dare insinuate that I don’t understand this policy. And stop talking down to people on this board, and also people who come forward. Enough.

What Witt clearly doesn’t understand — or more likely, could care less about — is that having a discussion in which people toss around ideas, and reviewing a written document are not the same thing. In this case, the board had reviewed a proposal to split the SPAC into two committees:  a District Accountability Committee (DAC) and a separate Strategic Planning Advisory Committee. Members, rather than trying to cover two large topics, would focus on accountability measures in the former and strategic planning in the latter.

WNW have repeatedly expressed concern that SPAC didn’t adequately conform to state statutes, although even their own board lawyer, Brad Miller, assured them that everything was fine. But then the SPAC members suggested that it would be easier to split the two so each could focus on a separate set of duties. Those volunteers, including the SPAC chair and chair-elect, worked with district staff to write a new set of by-laws.

They met with the BOE at the Aug. 27 meeting to get feedback. For the record, those by-laws included a suggested membership. This was also the meeting where Newkirk suggested they clean house, appoint new members and then direct those members to write their bylaws. As we noted, the idea didn’t go anywhere at the time, but resurfaced in Newkirk’s motion.

There are several problems with Newkirk’s motion. For starters, how many people would be on the new DAC?

the Board of Education shall vote to appoint eleven members, which shall include parents, at least one member of the business community, and at least one and up to three teachers to the District Accountability Committee, which also shall have as members one School Accountability Committee president from each of the 17 parent articulation areas, and the Superintendent of the District

Huh? Newkirk specifies 11 members, but also specifies that the committee would include one SAC chair from 17 articulation areas. The math doesn’t add up.

+ 1 (or more?) parent + 1 business community representative + 1-3 teachers + 17 SAC chairs = 20 – 23 members.

Is Newkirk suggesting that the BOE would only appoint 11 members but there would also be more on the committee? Despite his concerns about poor ACT performance (cited in the motion!) did he not realize that 11 ≠ 20?

We weren’t the only ones who weren’t clear about what this meant. The motion that was eventually approved also directed staff to solicit applications for review a the Oct. 1 meeting (yes–solicit and receive applications in the space of one week). Staff and board members alike were also confused about how, who, and how many applications they should solicit.

Staff asked what information applicants should include. Witt said applicants should include their background and “checkpoints for statutes.” Terry Elliot pointed out that the current SPAC membership includes some School Accountability Committee chairs and some members but Newkirk’s motion only specified chairs. Should they accept applications from SAC members or only SAC chairs? Witt replied that that’s what the bylaw draft says but they hadn’t approved it yet. (Another question: which bylaw draft? Newkirk’s or the other?)

Elliot also pointed out that as written, Newkirk’s proposal didn’t include all of the members outlined in state statutes. The 2013 revision of the law requires a school administrator and at least three parents; Newkirk’s resolution left out the administrator and didn’t specify the number of parents. When Elliot noted this, Witt responded (again condescendingly) that that’s why the “compromise makes sense.”

We ask, how is it a “compromise” to put off a vote on an ill-conceived proposal that would establish a DAC that did not conform to state laws, despite Witt and Newkirk’s constant “concern” that the current SPAC didn’t conform to those very same laws?

That’s irresponsible governance, pure and simple.

It also makes us wonder about Sunshine Laws. Here are some potential scenarios:

a. Newkirk is a severe, chronic procrastinator who simply does not get proposals written until the last minute, and that’s why the membership proposal wasn’t shared with Fellman and Dahlkemper (and presumably Witt and Williams) until the afternoon of the board meeting. Also, Williams and Witt just happened to have the afternoon free and were checking for any last-minute additions sometime between 1 and 5 pm.

b. Newkirk is a severe, chronic procrastinator but he also notified Witt and Williams that a new, different proposal would be headed their way sometime on Thursday afternoon so they could set aside time to review it.

c. Newkirk had written the proposal earlier, shared it with Witt and Williams, and only shared it with Dahlkemper, Fellman and the rest of the public after consulting with Witt and Williams.

Options B and C are clear violations of Colorado’s sunshine laws.

Option A is not, but, if true, is also is a clear example of how this board is not transparent. Posting a new proposal that varies considerably from the membership outlined in the proposed DAC bylaws only hours before the meeting, and pushing to approve said proposal without any public comment (or time to write the board before the vote) is neither transparent nor respectful.

Option A is also the least likely of the three. Too many stars have to align, and we find it curious that two members of the board majority just happened to have checked for last-minute additions and had plenty of time to review them.

K-6 vs. K-8 at Candelas

The vote against district recommendations to build a K-8 school at Candelas wasn’t a surprise but is another example of pennywise but pound-foolish. It’s not clear why WNW pushed for a K-6.

One concern they articulated repeatedly was that students from Leyden Rock would be joining an established cohort at Candelas for 7-8, but it’s equally true that at most of our middle schools, cohorts from the surrounding neighborhoods all merge in middle school. If the Candelas students head to Wayne Carle Middle School, they’ll join cohorts from Lukas and Witt Elementary. If the Leyden Rock kids head to Oberon or Bell Middle School, they’ll join cohorts from the elementary schools in those articulation areas.

WNW also argued that there was only demand for seats at the K-6 level and not in the middle school level. District staff pointed out that although area middle schools have capacity available now, they won’t by the time these developments reach full-buildout. We’ll need those middle school seats in the not-too-distant future. McMinimee cited the current numbers of sixth-grade students at current, overcrowded NW Arvada schools, but WNW ignored those concerns.

A third concern is that it’s much cheaper to build a K-8, even if it will need an addition, that it is to build and maintain a K-6 and separate, future 7-8 building. It’s cheaper to add to a building than it is to construct a new one. One K-8 building is also cheaper because there are less custodial costs and less administrative costs (2 principals vs 1, and so on). Utility costs are also cheaper because you’re only paying for electric and heat in one building. There’s only one gym, one library, one cafeteria, one kitchen, and one set of main offices, as opposed to double of all of that with associated costs.

Staff also noted that the Candelas site could accommodate multiple structures. If they built a K-8, there would still be 10 acres available that could support another building. It’s unlikely that will be possible with two separate buildings.

Also, Witt suggested that he really likes the 7-12 model and wants to see more 7-12 schools. He suggested a “D’Evelyn Northwest” though noted staff would need to flesh out plans. Staff pointed out that the district doesn’t own any other land in the NW area, though that’s only one among many questions we have regarding Witt’s “D’Evelyn Northwest.”

What’s the real reason behind a K-6? Is Witt hoping to put a charter school into the new building?  We wonder.

Jeffco Schools Security budget request

The other main item was a budget request from Jeffco’s Security and Emergency Management department. Director John McDonald had given a brief presentation on the increased numbers of threats and suicide assessments that his department has seen in the past couple of years. His staff of 11 is at capacity and he needs more staff to keep up with the increasing number of issues. About half of the $1.5 million request is for on-going expenses (additional staff), and the other half is for one-time expenses.

The response was surprising. Newkirk asked about the “school to prison pipeline” and what other schools across the nation are doing about it. Keep in mind that the board already had a Q&A session with McDonald two weeks ago. Why this question? Steve Bell had the winning answer, telling Newkirk that the answer is that many of those schools are coming to Jeffco for advice. McMinimee also jumped to McDonald’s defense, telling the board that Jeffco has one of the best systems out there, and that as someone who has worked in four school districts, he could “say this with confidence.”

Williams asked a number of odd question she said she’d been asked, too. She said people were worried about bringing Child Protective Services into the schools like New York. McDonald said he hadn’t heard of such a thing in Jeffco. She asked if FERPA no longer applied if students had contacts with law enforcement.  Answer: FERPA remains in place.

Williams wanted to know whether students knew their rights, and whether policies regarding contact and interviews with law enforcement had been made available to the public. Answer: policy JIH and JIH-R, which are available in BoardDocs. Just click the “policies” tab and type JIH. (Capital letters work better, FYI. And so on). Basically, Williams doesn’t appear to have read the Student Code of Conduct in full, and certainly hasn’t bothered to read through all those pesky district policies either. (But she had time to read Newkirk’s last minute proposal!) Note again that she could have asked McDonald these questions two weeks earlier during his presentation, and that they aren’t related to his budget request. The disconnect is odd.

Witt asked what the funding was for, despite the fact that McDonald had already provided that information to the board two weeks ago. Apparently the document contained some information that could compromise district security, so it hadn’t been posted to BoardDocs. There are plans to extract the information that can be made public and post that soon. Witt also asked where the money would come from, which to us is the only reasonable question we heard on the topic.

The problem is that WNW already allocated all the funding (see $18 million to build a “debt-free” school in NW Arvada), and little discretionary money is left to handle the request. They may be able to borrow money from vacant positions and retirement savings to fund the request this budget year, but money is tight. Fellman asked about pulling half a million from reserves to address immediate needs, but Chief Finance Officer Kathleen Askelson cautioned against it, saying they’re hearing dire news from the state regarding 2016-17 budgets, and that there could possibly even be a recision for the current year.

The plan is to revisit the issue at the Oct. 15 meeting. The board seemed to be in favor, but the odd questions from Newkirk and Williams combined with Witt’s statements also make us wonder if they’re taking the request seriously or if we’ll see another Plan B or other nonsense instead.

What You Can Do

You know the drill:  you can donate to the recall campaign and/or to the five candidates we’re endorsing in this election: Amanda Stevens, Ali Lasell, Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon and Ron Mitchell. You can donate to the candidates individually or support all five by donating to Jeffco United Forward.

You can write a letter to the editor. You can walk Jeffco to talk to the 70 percent of voters who do not have children in our schools currently to let them know why we support the recall. You can put up a yard sign or wear a button.

You can speak at public comment during the Oct. 1 board meeting, or you can boycott the meeting to speak to Jeffco voters instead. You can write to the board.

Most importantly, you can vote. This is on the November 3 ballot. Watch for your ballot to arrive in the mail, and be sure to fill it out and return it by November 3.

Hopefully you’ve also seen the post about board president Ken Witt telling board member Jill Fellman she would no longer be needed at the district agenda-setting meetings, and that John Newkirk would now attend all of the meetings until the election. If you haven’t seen it, Support Jeffco Kids has that story.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!