GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – After two weeks of teacher sick-outs and student protests, Thursday’s Jefferson County School Board meeting is expected to be overflowing with parents, teachers and students who have concerns about the future of the school district.
Hundreds were expected to attend the meeting and more than 80 had already signed up to speak by mid-afternoon. Speakers could sign up until 3 p.m. Several students said they will be among those speaking to board members. Some started waiting outside the meeting room as early as 2:30 p.m.
One of their concerns centers on a proposed curriculum review committee, an idea that has spurred several student walk-outs and protests over the past couple of weeks in several schools in Jefferson County.
That proposal, floated by board member Julie Williams, is pushing for that committee to evaluate the curriculum in advanced U.S. history classes to ensure it promotes patriotism and free-enterprise ideals, while sidelining ideas of social strife and civil disobedience.
Another contentious issue in the school district has revolved around teacher compensation. While students have protested the curriculum issue, teachers called in sick en masse on two days last month to oppose the board’s compensation plans. Those so-called “sick-outs” shuttered four high schools for one day.
Before 5 p.m., two lines with hundreds of people stretched from the front door of the Jefferson County Education Center — one for people to get into the meeting and another for people who wanted to address the school board.
Dueling protesters — those supporting the school board and another group that opposed it — were also present.
“I don’t think a lot of people know what they’re protesting against, and I think there is a lot of confusion that is coming about int he student body,” one student told CBS4.
“Our AP classes are important to us and since it’s a college-level education, it should have every single piece of knowledge that you would get from a college class, which is has currently,” a student against the school board’s proposal said.
The board doesn’t have to approve or deny the proposal. It can table the vote for another date.
At the last board meeting, members discussed possibly forming a committee that would change Advanced Placement History, or AP History, courses to promote patriotism, individual rights and discourage civil disobedience.
Teachers have been following sickouts in response to their compensation plan that would make student performance a factor in wage increases.
Jeffco School Board Chairman Ken Witt previously spoke with CBS4 about what he hopes will happen.
“I’d like to see two outcomes — No. 1, our kids need their teachers in the classroom teaching, they want them, they need them and I hope that all adults will do the right thing and show their students and community their commitment to them. No. 2, I want to make sure we are rewarding our great teachers,” said Witt.
The regular Jeffco School Board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
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