Oops. It looks like the Jefferson County Education Association’s poor planning has struck again. The recall petition language has been released and it’s factually a disaster. Here’s the ballot petition language (Ken Witt is the example used, but all the petition language is the same). Let’s go through this piece by piece.
First and foremost, Complete Colorado just did a piece on Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee’s salary. His salary is $220,000, not the $280,000 that Jeffco United for Action (aka the JCEA) is claiming in this petition. In short, these claims are entirely inaccurate. In addition, with all the complaining that the JCEA is doing about the board lawyer, there’s not a chance that is not public.
But, what about the nearly $300,000 that Jeffco School Board Member Lesley Dahlkemper’s business partner accrued from the district? Aside from our reporting on it, there’s been no media coverage at all. Does anyone have any proof of work product resulting from this contract?
The next claim that the union makes is that the board members have violated open meeting laws. But, when? The union has never produced any evidence of this, and the board has denied this in other media outlets.
As far as the next claim that students walked out due to protests over the AP U.S. History controversy. Let’s remember, again, the walkouts were planned far in advance of the AP U.S. History issue, and the walkouts were meant to be a protest of pay-for-performance measures the board was asking the teachers to adopt, not AP U.S. History.
Finally, the petition asserts that over 700 teachers have left the district due to this board. In past interviews, the district has noted there are slightly more departures than the year before, but said that the unions’ claims are wildly inaccurate.
There is not a single truthful statement on this petition, and that is in violation of the petition law. Here’s how the law (C.R.S. 1-12-103 (2014)) reads:
1-12-103. Petition for recall – statement of grounds
Eligible electors of a political subdivision may initiate the recall of an elected official by signing a petition which demands the election of a successor to the officer named in the petition. The petition shall contain a general statement, consisting of two hundred words or less, stating the ground or grounds on which the recall is sought. The general statement may not include any profane or false statements. The statement is for the information of the electors who are the sole and exclusive judges of the legality, reasonableness, and sufficiency of the ground or grounds assigned for the recall. The ground or grounds are not open to review.
But, what if it only contains false statements?