JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s second largest school district is wrestling with change brought about by a school board trying to push the district toward a more conservative ideology.
Three conservative members who gained a majority In Jefferson County first spawned student walkouts last fall after proposed changes to the way Advanced Placement U.S. History is taught. Now a recall effort is underway.
The voice of frustrated community members echoed throughout the county Wednesday night at a rally at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Among the hundreds were parents, students, teachers and other Jefferson County School District employees.
“I don’t like anything they’re doing. They’re not doing anything for us, that’s for sure,” said a Jefferson County resident at the rally.
The group called Jeffco United for Action began distributing petitions to recall the school board’s majority members. If they can get 15,000 signatures, John Newkirk, Julie Williams and Ken Witt could lose their seats.
The fight began last fall when thousands of students started walking out of several Jefferson County schools in protest of the school board proposal to change AP History courses. Wendy McCord, a parent leading the recall effort, says it was an example of the board’s failure to listen to the community, which in turn has led to numerous other issues.
“That is a critical part and all of these efforts come together,” McCord told CBS4. “We’re standing up for our students.”
Board President Ken Witt disputes claims that the board has lacked transparency and accountability. He says he’s proud of the board’s accomplishments over the last year.
“When we were elected we were given a mandate to focus on academic achievement, expanding choice, and equalizing funding for all public students; and we remain committed to those goals,” Witt said.
If the group can get the 15,000 signatures in the next 60 days the recall will go to a vote in November.