As we pointed out in our recent article The Charges are True, we weren’t expecting much in fairness from the Denver Post editorial staff, but we had held out some hope when we heard a Denver Post reporter, John Frank, was doing research for a follow-up fact check. Unfortunately, the Denver Post reporter missed some things, so we thought we’d help him out.
In his October 16, 2015 article Jefferson County school board recall transparency claim difficult to check – Issue ultimately up to voters to decide, Frank writes:
“Miller said he never spoke to the board majority before the vote, besides one-on-one conversations with Witt and Newkirk. “The blanket allegation of secret meetings — it’s a misnomer,” he said.”
Had Frank done just a tiny bit more research, he would have found, like so many other Jeffco community members, by viewing this Transparency Jeffco Video, Miller is not telling the truth. We invite folks to do a little of their own fact checking and listen in at 2:02 of this video and you will hear Les Dahlkemper ask Julie Williams: “Ms. Williams, have you had an opportunity to interview both attorneys?” Julie Williams’ reply: “Yes, I have”. But wait, didn’t Frank quote Miller in saying he had one-on-one conversations with Witt and Newkirk? Seems to us, Miller conveniently forgot his conversation with Ms. Williams.
Frank further writes:
“A legal complaint was never filed in district court…Even if a judge found that the board violated the law, it would only force a redo of the vote, rather than block the move, experts said.”
The Recall is truly a grassroots effort, and unlike the nearly million dollars from out-of-state funding courtesy of Americans For Prosperity aka The Koch Brothers, and the Independence Institute, our limited funding precludes us from spending valuable dollars where we can get no result.
One valuable lesson learned by the Jeffco community is, for all the responsibility a school board carries (in this case, a nearly billion dollar budget to provide public education for nearly 86,000 kids and employ nearly 12,000 staff in a safe environment), school board members are accountable to no higher authority. Their accountability is to the voters and community (students, parents, teachers, grandparents and taxpayers) for which they (the school board members) have the power – or can seize the power – to exclude from the entire process, hence the Recall supporters’ claim of lack of respect by the board majority for the community, examples being the random limiting of public comment, disregard for community surveys, and redacted board attorney invoices – the list goes on.
We believe the state’s sunshine law (Open Meetings Law) definitely lacks teeth and that’s something that needs to be changed. But that’s another fight for another day. Today, we need to make a change in Jeffco, and we need to make a change now.
Our children can’t wait two more years for a school board that values their education over politics.