Three Jefferson County school board members up for recall this fall have provided statements to the county clerk explaining why they should not be booted from office.
The statements by board members Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk will appear on the ballot alongside language from recall supporters that accuse the board of misusing tax dollars, disrespecting teachers and violating the state’s open meeting laws.
The release of the statements by the clerk’s office follow an announcement that the Secretary of State has approved the clerk’s plan to align the recall with the regular Nov. 3 election.
The secretary of state’s office and others have questioned whether the recall could be part of the regular election, which saves Jeffco Public Schools hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The “justification statements” echo many of the board members statements since the recall effort was launched in June.
Board President Witt highlighted the board majority’s resolve for a leaner and more nimble teacher contract, as well as a new way to pay teachers.
“Because our majority stood strong, we were able to reach a leaner, more flexible union agreement that gives educators the flexibility to better provide our children with a world-class education” Witt’s statement reads. “Our new pay model is built on accountability and fairness, allowing us to recognize and reward great teachers while moving us closer to the goal of having an effective teacher in every classroom.”
You can read the board majority’s full statements by clicking here:
Williams, the board’s vice president, renewed her vow to improve opportunities for students, like her own children, who live with special needs and are designated as gifted.
“I promised during my campaign to ensure the needs of every child were being met,” Williams’s statement reads. “My work on the Jeffco school board has been guided by that promise. During my time on the school board, I voted to support academic opportunities for every child by allocating additional resources to both special needs kids like Randy and gifted kids like Ryan.”
Meanwhile, Newkirk’s statement emphasizes the board’s work to improve opportunities for the district’s families living in poverty.
“We’ve also taken bold steps to tackle long-neglected issues, such as the community-led educational initiatives in the struggling Jefferson and Alameda areas,” his statement reads. “We have made free full-day kindergarten available to all low-income families.”
The statements represent the latest development on a long road to the November election.
Both the Jefferson and Broomfield county clerks will mail regular ballots to overseas voters later this month. Broomfield officials will mail recall ballot language at the same time.
About 2,000 voters in Broomfield live in the Jeffco Public Schools attendance boundary.
Jefferson County officials, however, will mail separate recall ballots to military and overseas voters after candidates running to replace the recall targets are certified.
If more candidates enter the recall between the time Broomfield and Jeffco officials mail their ballots, Broomfield will reissue ballots to eligible military and overseas voters — of which there are nine.
All Jefferson County voters living in the state will receive one package with both the regular and recall election ballot inside. The clerk’s office will begin mailing those the week of Oct. 12.
Both counties also will open additional polling centers for individuals to vote in person between Oct. 26 and Nov. 3.
If there is a last-minute lawsuit regarding the recall, a judge likely will decide how and when to hold that election, the Broomfield clerk’s office said.
So far three candidates running to replace the school board members have been certified for the ballot: Ron Mitchell, Brad Rupert and Susan Harmon.
Two other Jeffco residents, Paula Noonan and Matthew Dhieux, have pulled petitions to be placed on the ballot.
Residents who want to run as replacements should the recall be successful have until Sept. 28 to turn in petitions.