On Monday, the Senate State Affairs Committee heard Senator Andy Kerr’s bill SB16-101, which would have created a school board ethics commission. This bill would have added some “teeth” to CORA and the Sunshine Law, at least for the governing boards for local school boards & charter schools. Sadly, Senator Kerr’s School board ethics commission bill, SB 101, was killed in the Senate State Affairs committee this afternoon. The Senate State Affairs Committee is also known as “the kill” committee. It’s the committee where Senate leadership assigns bills they have no desire to see move on.
Those of us in the Jeffco school district may recall (pardon the pun), had a commission like this been in place, we may have had a less extreme option available. Remember? Lack of Transparency? Lack of Fiscal Accountability?
Colorado House Representatives Becker and Pettersen have introduced HB 16-1282 which imposes standard campaign finance disclosure requirements on school board elections. During the school board elections of 2013, especially, “dark money” financed the campaigns of board candidates in Jeffco, Douglas County, Thompson Valley, and other school districts around the state. These candidates were also backed by voucher supporters such as the Independence Institute, Jeffco Students First, various TeaParty groups, the AFP, and the Koch Brothers. Unfortunately, this bill has been assigned to the State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee, also known as the “Kill” committee.
Considering the uprise by parents and community members in school districts along the front range such as Jefferson County, Douglas County, and Thompson Valley, one would think legislation such as these would have an opportunity to go beyond the “kill” committee. It bears asking the question, what do legislators have to fear by recognizing and addressing concerns raised by parents and community members about how those elected to school boards actually get their campaign money, and holding them accountable once they get there.
We Support Jeffco Kids, but we need our legislators to support Jeffco kids, too. They need to support kids all around Colorado. Parents and community members need a vehicle by which they can hold their school boards accountable and make sure they are elected in a fair and transparent manner
We’d like to give a shout out to Senator Kerr and Representative Kraft-Tharp for sponsoring Senate Bill 101. We also want to recognize House Representatives Becker and Pettersen for sponsoring HB 1282. We encourage you to contact these legislators with a note of thanks and support
Sen. Kerr SenatorAndyKerr@gmail.com