Frequently Asked Questions about Jeffco’s Board of Education
How many members are there on the Jeffco Schools Board of Education?
- There are 5 members on the Jeffco Board of Ed. Some districts have 7 members (DougCo), some less. http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/board/members.html
- Members are elected county-wide, but must reside in the specific district they run to represent. (Although every board member truly represents ALL of Jeffco’s kids)
- Two seats, currently held by Dahlkemper and Fellman are up for election November, 2015. This election year. These two seats are often referred to as “the Minority” members.
- Three seats, currently held by Witt, Newkirk, and Williams (“Majority” members) are up for election November, 2017.
What is a “Super Majority”?
- A Super Majority of this five-member board requires 4 votes. The only action requiring a super majority (4 of 5 votes) is a motion to go into Executive Session. An Executive Session is closed to public comment or public attendance/viewing. Only the board members, the superintendent and legal counsel can attend an executive session, unless specifically invited.
Can the number of Jeffco board members be increased?
Only by Jeffco voters. Either the Jeffco Board itself would have to vote to place it on the ballot, or it would require a citizens’ initiative to place it on the ballot.
Who is the Jeffco Board accountable to? Jeffco website – BoE page
From the district website: The Jefferson County Board of Education is the policy-making body of the school district. Its powers and duties are set by state law. The Board is responsible for educational planning and evaluation, staffing and appraisal, school facilities, financial resources and communication. The Board acts as a court of appeal for staff members, students and the public on issues involving board policy or implementation of that policy.
Although the board’s “powers and duties are set by state law”, we have already seen this board majority violate the Colorado’s Sunshine Law on numerous occasions.
The board is actually only accountable to the voters.
- Not the State Board of Education
- Not the State Legislature
- Few laws affect or impact them, i.e. State Sunshine Law
How much power does the Jeffco Board of Ed actually have?
Here’s a partial list. The Jeffco Board of Ed has the power to
- Arm teachers and staff in our schools
- Eliminate AP classes or other school programs
- Sell off any property the district holds or designate it as surplus and sell (or give) it to charter schools
- Build or not build new schools (addressing overcrowding)
- Place a mill/bond on the ballot
- Approve or disapprove charter schools
- Oversee the district’s approximate billion dollar budget
- Hire and fire the Superintendent
- Redraw school boundary lines
- Should the Supreme Court find in favor of DougCo on vouchers, they have the power to implement a voucher program
IS THE JEFFCO BOARD OF ED REQUIRED TO INCLUDE COMMUNITY VOICE/INPUT IN ANY OF THESE DECISIONS?
- Sadly, the answer is NO. By policy they do, but there is no law requiring them to do that; and we have seen them violate their own policies many, many times.