District Resources Used for Political Propaganda

Save yourself time and skip the district newsletter from now on! It’s now a political propaganda machine used to misinform parents.


District resources are now being used to issue political propaganda to the community. The district newsletter for parents was sent out yesterday and our superintendent is allowing his name and position to be used to reiterate political talking points to support the Board Majority (the same talking points as seen in extremist political blogs.) Sadly, the talking points remain untrue no matter which political avenue they are rolled out from. Mr. McMinimee should know better and focus on his job of supporting our children and preparing for the 2015-2016 academic year rather than allowing district resources to be used to misinform parents. He knows fully that this Board Majority has not been accountable to the community, has been completely untransparent in their work, and that the decisions made by Witt, Williams and Newkirk have been severely lacking and hurt our kids and schools. 


Of course, several parents immediately spotted the inaccuracies in the Superintendent’s Corner article. The commentary on social media regarding district resources being used in this way (also a policy violation, by the way) is the newest buzz upsetting the very people who are MOST invested in Jeffco Public Schools – people with real children who sit in classrooms all day depending on this district to help build their futures. One mom shared her letter for all of you below:


Dear Mr. McMinimee,


I was completely appalled by the propaganda sent out in the name of keeping parents up to date with what is happening in the district. Any parent paying attention to what has been happening realizes that:


1) The board did NOT give teachers true raises – the board has not come even close to compensating veteran teachers for pay cuts and pay freezes during the recession – let alone providing anything resembling a meaningful raise. And that doesn’t even begin to address all the issues with the bad faith “negotiating” done by the board majority and their refusal to honor promises made to teachers who sacrificed so our kids wouldn’t suffer.


2) “Equalizing funding” is code speak for cheating the neighborhood schools. Charter Schools specifically agree to a lower rate of funding in exchange for greater control of their finances and governance. If Charter Schools are to be funded equally with neighborhood schools, then they need to be held to the same standards as those neighborhood schools – you can’t have it both ways.


3) Building a new school? Really? Last I heard, not enough money had been allocated for the NW area school and very little had been done to address the continued growth and overcrowding at the schools in that area. And all reasonable recommendations to fully fund a much needed new school – from the people who actually know about these things – were ignored or dismissed.


4) I fail to see how community members have greater input into their schools when the board continues to ignore the massive amount of correspondence they receive – replying only months (sometimes more than a year) after the fact with generic, pointless, uninformative, and poorly written garbage. And, considering the abuse heaped upon teachers, I doubt that principals truly feel they have more say about anything either. The good ones are too busy trying to make sure the current BoE majority doesn’t destroy the good work of those teachers.


5) Kept the best teachers? Really? The rate of turnover has increased significantly because teachers are continually maligned and disrespected by the board majority. Setting up a system where new teachers make significantly more than veteran teachers was just salt in the wounds already inflicted over the last many months.


I hope you will, in the future, refrain from using district tools to parrot the political propaganda of the current board majority and their supporters.


Susan Carter Ruskell


Another piece of misinformation that some are attempting to spread is the cost of the recall election hurting our kids. Because the County has to run a “coordinated election” anyway (for the two seats currently held by Fellman and Dahlkemper), the cost is already being incurred – a recall just adds another ballot issue to it. Recall adds NO additional cost.


Certainly these folks realize that the Jeffco parents and community are a force to be reckoned with? Jeffco parents are informed, engaged, and well-educated. We did NOT lose our ability to decipher information when we had children and we recognize misinformation when we see it. We live it in the schools every day with our children and will allow no one to interfere with the best interests our Jeffco kids. Using district resources to spread political messaging, a violation of policy, was a very poor choice.

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