7.30.15 Jeffco Speaks Out (Our 3rd Guest Column — Non-“Union Operative” Division)

LettersClipArt

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.

Here’s another submission from our guest column contest:

I am a grandmother in north Lakewood and do not have any affiliation with the teacher union. I am a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science in New York City and I was raised to value science and math and to respect my teachers. I am extremely upset to see what has happened in the Jefferson County School District.

My children graduated from Jefferson County schools more than twenty years ago and now I have a grandson going into fourth grade in Jeffco. I have never seen such disrespect of parents and teachers in all the years that I have lived here.

I see these conservative members of the Jeffco School Board taking credit for Jeffco achievements that were years in the making. They are taking credit for achievements that they have not worked for, and they have lied to the public about their goals. These three members have turned the School Board into a political football! I am worried for the future of my grandson.

— Diana Suslak-Spriggs

We’d like to hear your voice too. If you are a parent, student, community member, it’s not too late to enter the contest. Details are here.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.28.15 Jeffco Speaks Out (Our 2nd Guest Column — Non-“Union Operative” Division)

LettersClipArt

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.

Here’s another submission from our guest column contest:

First I am not a part of JCEA; I am not a teacher and have no kids at this moment attending Jeffco Schools. But, I was a student for 12 years and will have grandkids that will attend. I also have taught private preschool where the kids will attend Jeffco.

I support the recall of the three board members because I see their agenda has nothing to do with helping teachers teach and kids learn. They are arrogant and they bully everyone who opposes their insanity. There is a no bullying policy at Jeffco Schools yet they do it all the time to students, parents, teachers, the other two board members and especially Cindy Stevenson.

They meet behind closed doors and make all their decisions before they come before the public. They pass things they want passed even if everyone else mentioned above opposes it. They disrespect everyone who does not support them and they are rude, obnoxious, and overbearing, not to mention just plain uneducated as shown in their big push to remove some American history from the curriculum because they found it offensive. In truth, it was insightful and a big part our history that would teach us the mistakes we have made so we can work not to make them again.

Jeffco Schools used to be a top district where people wanted to enroll their kids. Now it is a district people shy away from because these board members are scaring them away. They are downright bullies and they have ruined its reputation as a great district.

–Anonymous Jeffco Resident

We’d like to hear your voice too. If you are a parent, student, or community member, it’s not too late to enter the contest (teachers and staff, you’ll have a turn next). Details are here.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.15.15 Jeffco WNW Recall facts (part 1)

Recall The Facts - Updated

The spin machines are running wild these days, with fanciful claims ranging from the notion that the people supporting the recall are “so-called parents” (not true! My kids keep bugging me for snacks) to the notion that the petition is lying about key issues.

Today we’ll address the claims about Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee’s salary.

FACT: The total compensation package for McMinimee in 2014/15 was $280,000. That is the number in the Jeffco Schools budget, which you can see on page 117 of the 2014/15 adopted budget.

That number includes both base salary and benefits, plus $40,000 in bonus pay. The $40k has not been awarded to him yet because McMinimee just finished his first year at Jeffco on June 30 and the board has not met to conduct his annual review. Nevertheless, the $280k package was what Witt, Newkirk and Williams approved–and is a number to which we still object.

In contrast, the total compensation package for McMinimee’s predecessor, Cindy Stevenson was considerably less, largely as a concession to the teacher and staff budget freezes. Here are the actual numbers for her total compensation package she received each year, including base pay and benefits:

  • 2011/2012 budget = $215,728
  • 2012/2013 budget = $217,510
  • 2013/2014 budget = $241,613 (includes contract buyout)

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Click on the thumbnails above to look more closely at the budget documents.

McMinimee’s total compensation package is slated to rise to $282,200 next year as he receives a pay increase and as benefit costs continue to rise.

Need more data? Check out this video from Jeffco DataView explaining the reasons behind the recall.

For more Jeffco DataView information, you might also be interested in these videos:

Don’t forget to sign the petition! Drive & sign locations are updated regularly on the Jeffco United for Action website.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

6.26.15 It’s time: Let’s recall WNW!

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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!


 

Board Mtg 1/30/14 – Summary

Below is a review of the Jan 30th Special Board meeting held at the Education Center in Golden (near Denver West off of I-70).

The first part of the meeting was held in Executive Session (no public viewing) and covered the status of negotiations with the different employee associations.  At 6:30 p.m., the public part of the meeting was convened.  Overall, there appeared to be a strong interest in anything charter school related. Continue reading