Battle of Power or Removing Power from Community?

Meet Floyd Ciruli, newest talking head for the Independence Institute!


During the 9News “Balance of Power” broadcast Sunday morning (10/25/15) Ciruli boldly and confidently states:


“As you know, the union fundamentally started this fight in terms of wanting its majority back; which it had before 2013 and so that started the recall.”

Whoa, Floyd!   Really?   Have you done your research?   Have you been in Jeffco to visit with anyone supporting the Recall?  If you want to appear balanced and unbiased, you really need to talk to more people than just Jon Caldara who doesn’t live anywhere near Jeffco and has never volunteered in a Jeffco School!


As much as the folks at 9News and the Independence Institute (and the Americans for Prosperity) would like to make this about the “union” we challenge you to do some real research rather than parroting what Jon Caldara tells you.  


Three Jeffco parents Wendy McCord, Tina Gurdikian, and Michael Blanton filed the petitions for recall.  

Wendy McCord is a former corporate attorney and she’s never been a union member.  Tina Gurdikian is a Jeffco parent.  She has never been a teacher, nor has she ever been a union member.  And Michael Blanton, who is also a Jeffco parent, is a practicing attorney.  Oh, yeah, and he’s never been a union member, either.


Here’s a quick “break down” of the Channel 9 broadcast highlights:


Rittiman  to Ciruli (2:22)    “…at the heart of this, isn’t there just a big disagreement about unions at play here?”


Ciruli (2:30) “Philosophical differences as to how schools should be run.

Should there be more choice for parents, which would happen to be schools that are non-union. “

Jeffco has 155 schools, and has offered lots of choice for Jeffco parents (we have many out of district parents choice into the district, too):  

  • 90 Elementary schools, a mix of K-6 and K-8
  • 20 Middle Schools (3 counted are K-8)
  • 17 High Schools (6 offer Internat’l Baccalaureate programs)
  • 16 G/T (Gifted and Talented Centers ranging K-12)
  • 13 Option Schools: 2 of which are Virtual (On-line) Academies; 2 Warren Tech Campuses
  • 29 Special programs and schools ranging from Stem schools to Adult night classes.
  • 19 Charter schools


The board has only approved one new charter school in the two years they have served. 


Yes, typically teachers in charters do not belong to the union.  It should be noted, not all teachers in neighborhood schools are members of the teachers’ association, either.   Belonging to any of the employee associations is an option for employees.


It should also be noted, the agreement negotiated between the JCEA, the Jefferson County Educators Association, is the one thing that requires the district to keep class sizes to a reasonable size.  It’s this agreement that dictates the student: teacher ratio, examples being:


Kindergarten             22-26

1st -3rd                         18-22

4th                                22-26

5th  – 6th                         26-30

It should also be noted that MANY schools have class sizes much larger than these numbers.  Class-size “relief” is given in the form of a paraprofessional though it most certainly is not the best solution for kids but without proper funding, our overcrowded schools don’t have a lot of options.


“Should there be performance pay which the teachers union largely resists or like to control…”


At the October 16, 2015 Arvada Chamber School Board Candidate Forum, candidates were asked about Performance Pay and ALL candidates, with the exception of Matt Dhieux and Paula Noonan, supported it.


“As you know, the union fundamentally started this fight in terms of wanting its majority back; which it had before 2013 and so that started the recall.  It’s the largest employer in the county. “


Again, we are going to suggest Ciruli and 9 News do a fact check.  The JCEA, the Jefferson County Educators Association, actually has 6 employees.   The Jeffco Public School District is the largest employer in Jefferson County, with 12,000+ employees, about half of those employees are teachers and not all of those teachers are members of the association.  


“We are talking real power here and real influence and a lot of money.”

Based on those numbers, yes, it would appear whoever is at the helm of the district commands a lot of power.  Currently, that appears to be Superintendent Dan McMinimee (from Douglas County  Mr. McMinimee brought a $4.2 Million Dollar fine to his last school district

See: ) as well as the Board Majority members who are actually being recalled for violating state sunshine laws, board policies, lack of fiscal accountability and a total lack of respect for the community.



Ciruli (5:19) I think to some extent the union decided and there are other supporters, there are parents and other people, not just the union, but they decided that it would be best not to wait for the regular election cycle and give these people 4 years to try and enact their reforms; lets do it as quickly as possible.”


We are disappointed Ciruli gives the parents, grandparents and community members so little credit.   We’d like to encourage the forgotten parents, grandparents, or as Ciruli puts it “other people” who signed the petitions or carried the petitions, who have been walking and knocking or phone banking or emailing, and donating in support of this Recall, to contact 9 News today and make sure Floyd Ciruli, understands his new role as talking head for the Independence Institute will not be tolerated.


Here’s a link to Ch9’s contact info:



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We are Support Jeffco Kids, co-founded and co-chaired by Shawna Fritzler (a Jeffco parent, never been a teacher, never been a union member) and Jonna Levine (parent of a Jeffco graduate, never been a teacher, never been a union member)