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Jeffco Board Majority: Listen & Involve the Community

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Dear Fellow Jeffco Parents,

Do you know where your child is going to attend school next year? Don’t be so sure.

I and fellow parents in the Applewood community have just learned a hard lesson about what happens when the School Board Majority does not bother to listen to the community they are elected to serve.

Throughout the month of March, many of us living in Applewood did not know where our students would be attending school next year because of a surprise motion from Mr. John Newkirk on the Jeffco School Board of Education that was seconded by School Board President, Mr. Ken Witt. Without any community input - and despite being told by school district staff that the plan was unworkable - members of the Jeffco School Board Majority proposed a motion on March 5th to overhaul the school our kids love. The proposal would have made our neighborhood elementary school larger than most middle schools and even larger than some high schools. Can you imagine? Ultimately, the motion was pulled from consideration a few weeks later, but not until our community mobilized to organize and attend several community meetings, educate our neighbors about the potential impact, and expend our energies on what turned out to be a significant waste of time, district resources and taxpayer dollars. And we still don’t know for sure that they won’t bring this motion back again some other time.

Our families moved to Jeffco and Applewood specifically so our kids could attend Maple Grove Elementary. The new Board Majority seems to believe that the school district can take a successful elementary school, double it in size, and still be as successful. Don’t they understand that younger students will be lost in such a vast and crowded learning environment? The three members in the Board Majority – Mr. Ken Witt, Mr. John Newkirk and Ms. Julie Williams – haven’t spent time in a classroom or even studied education at all. They are driven by ideology and personal agendas, not the best practices of learning. And, they certainly are not interested in listening to the concerns of parents.

Over the last month our parent community came together and demanded the Jeffco School Board Majority listen to us. We were successful in getting them to back down from this bad idea (for now), but we worry about what will happen the next time the Jeffco School Board Majority decides to make a surprise motion. Will it affect your child?

The Jeffco School Board Majority does not listen. They don’t listen to district staff and they don’t listen to parents. In the past year the Board Majority has spent money contrary to public input, attempted to make changes to staffing levels at schools that put our students’ safety at risk, and refused to deal with the overcrowding at many schools and the need to accommodate additional growth in several areas of the district. They even attempted to censor the AP US History course, prompting thousands of students to walk out of school in protest.

The schools and community should be working hand in hand to educate our kids. This partnership is not happening under the Board Majority. We encourage you to learn more about what is going on in Jeffco schools and specifically with the school board.

We hope your students’ choices are never jeopardized like ours were.


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