You may remember the multiple letters shared with us from Wendy McCord. A compilation of these letters and responses can be found here:
What we find interesting in the response below is the elected Board of Education Secretary, noting that he cannot speak for the Board. In fact, we believe that is what the Board Secretary is supposed to do – respond on behalf of the Board.
Ms. McCord has requested responses on numerous occassions, yet the responses she receives do not answer her questions at all. As stated in the response below “requires that the District reply to correspondence from the public, but it does not obligate the Board secretary, superintendent, or designee to engage in ongoing debate or rebuttal of allegations or issues.” If questions are not answered, there is no debate. This is a citizen requesting information and answers, as is her right.
From: Newkirk John <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 7:21 PM
Subject: Re: Email to Board No. c-14-305
To: Wendy McCord
Dear Ms. McCord:
In your reply to my email response of 4/10/14, you ask who created the SB-191 draft resolution presented at the March 6 Board meeting. It is my understanding that Mr. Witt (email@example.com
), acting as Board president, crafted the first draft, though I cannot speak for him
. Regarding the remainder of your message, I value your input, have noted your admonitions, and trust that we may all move forward now in the mutual best interests of our children.
Policy KDA, as you may know, requires that the District reply to correspondence from the public, but it does not obligate the Board secretary, superintendent, or designee to engage in ongoing debate or rebuttal of allegations or issues. Again, thank you for your involvement and for your active interest in our Jeffco schools.
I am, respectfully,
John J. Newkirk, Secretary
Jefferson County Board of Education
Following this exchange, Ms. McCord attempts to contact the board to obtain responses via the Board President:
From: Wendy McCord
Date: Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 8:13 PM
Subject: Fwd: Email to Board No. c-14-305
Mr. Witt, I will ask you to please reply to the question that I posed to the Board back on March 13, 2014. At the March regular meeting, you informed Ms. Dahlkemper that a group of people drafted the statement in support of SB-191. Therefore, I take it that Mr. Newkirk’s responses to my email are incorrect. Surely, if you had been the primary author of the referenced statement, you would have indicated as such to Ms. Dahlkemper back at the March meeting, rather than refusing to answer her when she specifically asked who was involved in the drafting.
Also, since Mr. Newkirk was not ‘in the loop’ related to the drafting (and therefore his prior answers may be inaccurate), please advise me (and the rest of Jeffco), whether any of the time billed by Mr. Miller in the 22 days he billed time to Jeffco in February (or indeed, any of his time) was utilized in connection with SB-191 or the statement in support of it. If so, please advise me how many hours reflected on Mr. Miller’s February statement (or any statements) are related to this particular statement/senate bill.
If Mr. Newkirk is, indeed, not able to speak for the Board, then he most definitely should not be responding to Board correspondence. We, the people of Jeffco, have questions that we would like answered. It is disingenuous and hardly “transparent” to have someone with no authority or information answering the citizens’ questions and correspondence. It is, rather, a waste of everyone’s time.
I would love to move forward in the best interests of all of Jeffco’s children; that is my goal. However, I fear that you (and therefore Mr. Newkirk and Ms. Williams) have a very distinct subset of children in mind for whose benefit you are acting – and they do not include the children who most need our efforts and attention. That has been made clear in many of the decisions you, Mr. Newkirk and Ms. Williams have made since you took your oaths of office last fall, many of which violate at least one board or district policy.
I am gravely disappointed in the manner in which the Jefferson County School District’s Board of Education conducts itself – the complete lack of respect for the constituents to which you report (and your fellow board members), the lack of interest in learning about your role and information that could help improve the situation of all of Jeffco’s students, and the disregard you have for your own policies and even Colorado law. The people are speaking to you, repeatedly and clearly, yet you refuse to listen, respond or engage in any sort of intelligent discourse with us. We will not be silenced by your lack of responsiveness or disinterest. We will continue to ask questions, and we will continue to demand answers.
Wendy R. McCord, J.D., M.O.M.