• New school board members take oath of office

    Jeffco’s newly elected school board members officially took the helm of the district last Thursday and are set to re-examine several of their predecessors’ controversial decisions in coming weeks.

    Ron Mitchell, Ali Lasell, Susan Harmon, Amanda Stevens and Brad Rupert, who were elected Nov. 3, were greeted with waves of applause as they took the oath of office and their seats at the board table.

  • Conservative board members approve $9,500 in bonuses for superintendent

    Jeffco schools Superintendent Dan McMinimee will be paid $9,500 in bonuses after his first year of work, the outgoing school board decided on a 3-2 vote Nov. 5.

    McMinimee’s awards represent 24 percent of possible bonuses in his contract. The bonuses hinged on his meeting goals set by the district and the school board.

  • McMinimee earns 24% of possible bonuses during first year

    Jeffco schools Superintendent Dan McMinimee met benchmarks to qualify for about $9,500 in performance bonuses after his first year on the job.

    McMinimee’s contract allowed for up to $40,000 in bonuses if he met a number of goals set by the district and the school board.

  • D’Evelyn named best public high school in state

    D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School has been named the best public high school in Colorado for 2015 by the educational research website StartClass.

    The ranking is based on D’Evelyn students’ average performance on a variety of standardized tests, along with other statistical information. SmartClass is operated by Graphiq, a statistical analysis company that works in a variety of fields.

  • Security team staying busy at schools during 2015

    Reports detailing a surge in threats handled by Jeffco Public Schools’ security and emergency management team led school board members Oct. 15 to approve funds for the department to hire four new staff members.

    The department has seen a 100 percent increase in threat assessments in the past year, said John McDonald, the district’s executive director of safety, security and emergency planning. Also, in the last two years, assessments performed on potentially suicidal students have increased 600 percent.

  • School board candidates forum polite

    While the political storm surrounding Jeffco’s school board election continues to rage, a candidate forum Oct. 13 in Conifer was, in contrast, low-key and civil.

    Eleven of the 13 candidates in the Nov. 3 election appeared at the event at West Jefferson Middle School, which was moderated by Evergreen Newspapers editor Doug Bell and co-sponsored by the newspapers and the Conifer Area Council. For the most part, candidates seemed to lean on their usual talking points.

  • School board names 11 to District Accountability Committee

    The Jeffco school board’s conservative majority seated 11 members of a new District Accountability Committee at an Oct. 15 meeting in what has become the latest battle for the deeply divided board.

    In a process that liberal board members Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman likened to throwing darts or drawing names from a hat, board members selected committee members without having interviewed them or being provided with resumes or detailed biographical information.

  • Columbine Kiwanis Club donates $3,250 to 5 grade schools

    The Columbine Kiwanis Club donated $3,250 last week to the five elementary schools that feed into Ken Caryl Middle School to help pay for sixth-graders to attend the district’s Outdoor Lab Schools.

    The money, split among Normandy Elementary, Leawood Elementary, Columbine Hills Elementary, Governor’s Ranch Elementary and Dutch Creek Elementary, will help students unable to afford the week-long stay at either of the Outdoor Lab locations in Jeffco.

  • Donors’ identities concealed in school board campaigns

    Groups on both sides of the contentious Jeffco school board recall election have employed funding methods that conceal donors’ identities.

    Since efforts to recall conservative board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams were launched in late June, Jeffco residents have been inundated with information from both sides.

    On the incumbents’ side, a nonprofit group with conservative ties has funded television ads featuring Williams that toe — but do not cross — lines that would require it to disclose finances.

  • School board candidates face off in first public forum

    Nine of the 12 people vying for the five seats on the Jeffco school board faced off Aug. 31 at the first public forum of the election cycle, hosted by Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.

    Board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams, the targets of a recall effort, all attended, each emphasizing talking points about accomplishments since their election to the board in 2013.