Petitioners Line Wadsworth To Oust Jeffco School Board Members

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Frustrated parents in Jefferson County lined up along Wadsworth Boulevard on Wednesday to gather signatures for a petition that would recall three Jefferson County School Board members.

Wednesday’s effort was part of a last-minute push to get enough signatures. Petitioners were out along eight intersections along Wadsworth during rush hour.

“We’re planning on wrapping up on Saturday,” said Nicole Croy, who opposes the school board.

Croy is among parents pushing to recall school board members Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk. They’re Republicans who took control of the board in 2013, hired a new superintendent, and proposed changes to curriculum that led to accusations of censorship.

Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk (credit: CBS)

Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk (credit: CBS)

“A hostile environment has been created by the board majority,” Croy said. “I feel like they’ve come in with a specific political agenda.”

“A lot of the things that they’ve done in Jeffco are very similar to what DPS, Denver Public Schools has done — pay for performance, more charter schools — all of that DPS is doing, and I’ve never heard them called conservative,” said Sheila Atwell, who supports the board.

Political or policy driven, the battle over the board has divided the community.

“Instead of creating a culture where we’re collaborating and working together, we’ve divided,” Croy said.

“The messaging has certainly been what maybe rankles parents as opposed to what’s actually happened,” Atwell said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Atwell says ironically the petition accuses board members of wasting tax dollars, yet the election could cost the district $500,000.

“Which would be money that doesn’t go to classrooms,” Atwell said.

“I’ve heard from the counter, ‘Why not wait until the next election when their terms are up in four years?’ My son will be out of elementary and starting high school by that time,” Croy said.

Petitioners need 15,000 signatures per board member. They believe they will 25,000 each by Saturday. They have a couple of weeks to make the November ballot. If they don’t make that election the school district will need to foot the bill for a special election, which as mentioned would cost about $500,000.

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