May 1st BOE Meeting Review – A Short Synopsis

2014-05-01 BOE Meeting - Audience #1(A more detailed review will be posted later.)

There were two real surprises last night.  The first is that over a thousand people showed up, filling Bear Creek High School Auditorium to  capacity while JeffCo’s security announced that there were another 400-500 people waiting outside.  The second surprise was that WNW did not pull any surprise antic on us. They just did pretty much what we expected. They keptthe $3.7 million additional funds for Charter Schools and the $840,000 additional for GT. They continued to refuseto reinstate $600,000 to fund free full-day kindergarten for almost 400 at-risk children, and they also refused to specifically increase the Reserve Fund (they are counting on extra money from the State). They also continued to refuse to put discussing Brad Miller’s contract on the agenda. The one minor surprise is that they actually approved the purchasing of the new elementary math curriculum, Math Expressions.

That took not quite two hours. The meeting lasted for seven and a half.

What took up the remaining five and half hours?

About 45 minutes was spent approving the Consent Agenda, honoring a teacher and high school wrestlers and setting up the meetings for the rest of the school year.

Four and three-quarter hours were public comment. And if you were not there for this public comment, you are the poorer for it.

From 7:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., more people than we could count came up and presented to the Board with a passion that was at the same time moving, overwhelming, powerful, and inspiring. Teachers, students, parents, concerned citizens poured out their hearts. The two dominate topics were employee compensation and funding free full-day kindergarten. Everything else was swamped by these two themes.

WNW ignored all of the logic, reasoning, statistics, and emotion in favor of funding FFD kindergarten, of course. And that does not bode well for JCEA & JCAA in the upcoming negotiations. But for the rest of us, it was inspiring and motivating. If you were unsure this is a battle worth fighting, you had no doubts at the end of the night.

If you want to recruit someone into this fight, you do not need to marshal your arguments and persuasive skills. Simply get them to come to a Board meeting. Watching WNW in the meeting will persuade them far better than you ever could.

And that is why they will (eventually) lose. All we have to do is not give up.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!

7 thoughts on “May 1st BOE Meeting Review – A Short Synopsis

  1. Yes, I am a believer in the power of right over might. This is one showdown we can do something about.

  2. For those of us just getting involved, what is WNW?

    • It stands for Witt, Newkirk, and Williams, the three Libertarian extremists that Koch money put on the Biard. We began referring to them this way primarily because they act in lockstep almost all the time and, frankly, our fingers got tired of typing “Witt, Newkirk, and Williams” repeatedly in our early posts. Since then we will also add a “+Miller” because he obviously spends far more of his tax-payer paid for time talking to WNW than to either Dahlkemper or Fellman. Read or page on Miller to learn more about his origins and apparent influence.

  3. Thanks for the recap.

    Can I make one gentle suggestion?

    You wrote: “Four and three-quarter hours were public comment. And if you were not there for this public comment, you are the poorer for it.”

    Let’s be fair.

    1. How many people were outside the boardroom, unable to hear or otherwise find out what was going on except via social media? Seems like a harsh comment to people whose only fault was having obligations that prevented them from getting to the high school by what, 5 pm or sooner?

    2. This was an important board meeting but hardly the only school-related event that evening. I’m usually at the board meeting and have been for the past couple of years, but last night I was at our elementary school choir and orchestra concert, watching my child and her classmates perform from behind the piano–because I also volunteer as an accompanist. Am I poorer for making music with more than 150 of our Jeffco kids rather than being physically present for public comment last night? Um, no.

    Our choir sang a song titled “Give Us Hope,” with these lyrics:

    Give us hope. Our voice is calling
    Can you see? Look in my eyes.
    Can you feel? My hand is reaching.
    Give us hope and we’ll show you the way.

    I am committed to continue writing the board, attending meetings and standing up for kids, but last night I was with those kids–listening to their voices, looking in their eyes, and the better for it. They keep me inspired and focused for this fight.

    There are also countless other parents and teachers who couldn’t be there last night for any number of reasons. Those reasons should be respected.

    The meeting was recorded and the recording of all 6-1/2+ hours should be available Monday or Tuesday. Thankfully, technology allows us to make the best of both worlds when the in-person experience at both wasn’t possible.

    • Our apologies. We did not mean to imply that somehow not being in the room was a personal fault, but rather those of us who did get in were enriched by the experience…with the obvious exceptions of WNW who had to have harden their hearts and minds to impervious to the facts, logic, reasoning, and emotional appeals of the teachers, parents, students and community members.

  4. Lose how? That’s what I don’t understand. If they’re calling all the shots, how can they lose?

    • In the short run, you are right. They can win almost everything on a 3-2 vote. But in the long run, what they are doing is awakening the reasonable middle of Jefferson County. They may hang on to their die-hard supporters, but they are rapidly losing the rest of us.

      In fact, we may need to thank WNW+Miller and their big money backers. Their extreme actions are reminding the rest of JeffCo that we ARE a community, and that we need to stand TOGETHER against them trying to turn us into another Douglas County.

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