I will continue to use my voice

From: Jodi Lundin

To: board <board@jeffco.k12.co.us>
Sent: Mon, Jan 26, 2015 7:25 pm
Subject: Witt, Newkirk and Williams: Please Resign

To the Members of the Jefferson County School Board of Education:

 

I am one of the 6500 people who signed a petition calling for the resignation of Mr. Witt, Mr. Newkirk and Ms. Williams.  People of all political parties and philosophies joined with people of all faiths and no faith to sign the petition and I’m proud that I joined them and used my voice.  To be clear, I’m a JEFFCO parent of two children and am not affiliated with JCEA.  I’m also a long time resident of JEFFCO and have spent countless hours volunteering over the past 10 years for the schools including serving on an accountability committee, co-leading a science fair, serving as a school crossing guard, working family picnics and fun fairs, raising money, donating money, donating desks and supplies and helping students in the classroom.

 

My reasons for asking for the resignation of the school board majority are too many to list but here are my top 10 reasons:

1.   Through your actions, none of you have shown that you are committed to serving all students of the Jefferson County Public School District. You are instead pushing through a national extremist political agenda with the end goal of severely damaging public education and weakening, if not destroying, teacher unions. You were elected by a small percentage of voters and your campaigns were financed heavily by outside money and interests.

2.    Voters passed 3A/3B and you have not honored the commitments made and voted on.  This is making a mockery of our democracy.

3.  You have violated the Sunshine Laws and School Board policies repeatedly. You meet in secret, ignore overwhelming community input/feedback, and you try to intimidate, bully or shame anyone who voices a different opinion. 

4.  You hired an attorney who only represents your extreme interests, has deep ties to the charter school industry, re-wrote the conflict of interest policy for the district which protects him, and makes key decisions for the district at the behest of the Board majority.  It is clear that he has a personal stake in the district approving additional charter schools. 

5.  You have violated the School Board policy on “religion” by approving the Golden Classical View Academy (charter school) which is affiliated with Hillsdale College and has a partnership with CCU. Not only is this a violation of this policy, this school is also asking for unprecedented waivers which, if they succeed, could be discriminatory to many of our current school population. Your religion has no place in public schools.

6.     Instead of serving in your role as advisors, you micro-manage the district and the employees in areas that you have absolutely no knowledge of and no respect for the professionals who do understand their respective functional areas.  For example, you do not understand basic compensation or Human Resources, yet Mr. Witt designed a radically different compensation system on paper during one Board meeting and two weeks later it was adopted by the Board majority without analyzing the costs, how it will impact the current system, and how it will be implemented (given that the evaluation design was found to be invalid by an independent fact finding group). You ask the Superintendent, the staff, and teachers to meet ambitious goals in student achievement but the very group that has the most impact on these goals are treated deplorably and dismissed.

7.  You’ve made financial decisions that put our district at great financial risk such as ignoring the facility and infrastructure needs that have been presented three times to the Board.  Your damage to the school district also will eventually lower the value of homes as people leave the district because of the rapidly deteriorating school system.

8.  You’ve created a toxic environment for the employees of the district many of whom fear for their jobs. Teachers have already left the district and many are looking elsewhere because of how they have been treated. I also do not believe that you will bargain with the teacher’s union in good faith.

9.   Mr. Newkirk attended a meeting with an organization called AFP. I was told that AFP was not the American Freedom Party that was listed on the original flyer (you said someone made the typo and it was another AFP).  This is very alarming whether it was a typo or not. Why is it alarming?  Someone associated with this group has made very disturbing threats to parents on social media. You should have issued a statement apologizing for this “error” and make a statement that you would never associate with a known hate group.

10. You have taken away my “choice” in the district because you have already negatively impacted my neighborhood school.  My daughter sits in a 6th grade class of 38 with one teacher because the district does not have additional resources to hire a part time teacher to offset the large class size.  I know exactly where to find more resources to pay for teachers with small class sizes but you have funneled this money to an expensive attorney, a PR firm, a new Communications/Propaganda Director and charter schools who are allowed to have small class sizes.

I will continue to use my voice no matter how the three of you try to silence those of us who are standing up for all students.  Yes, I call on Mr. Witt, Mr. Newkirk and Ms. Williams to resign.  You have failed our children, our district and our community.

 

Jodi Lundin