• 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.

  • Witt seeks ethics investigation of himself

    A recent announcement by Jeffco’s embattled school board president that he is requesting an Independent Ethics Commission investigation into himself to counter allegations of sunshine-law violations likely will lead nowhere since the commission oversees neither the state's Open Meetings Law nor school boards.

    Ken Witt, one of three targets of a recall in the Nov. 3 election, called a news conference Oct. 8 to make the announcement to a room of reporters. 

  • Jeffco official verifies signatures on school board recall petitions

    Jeffco’s elections manager has verified that the group seeking a recall of the school board’s three conservative members has collected more than enough signatures on petitions to force an election.

    The elections office finished verifying signatures on petitions to recall board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams on Tuesday, according to elections manager Carrie Kellogg.

  • School district staffers: Facilities needs are ‘urgent’

    The facility needs at Jeffco Public Schools are urgent, and a plan to open a new school in the northern part of the district won’t keep pace with anticipated growth in that area, district COO Steve Bell told school board members at an Aug. 27 meeting.

  • District, teachers approve 10-month contract

    The Jeffco school board last Thursday evening unanimously approved a 10-month contract with the district’s teachers union.

    Conservative board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams praised the new agreement’s prioritization of school-level control. Witt said the contract embodies so many fundamental changes that its 10-month length is justified, despite sentiment among teachers that the brief term of the pact disrespects their contributions. 

  • Schools ready for changes in 2015-16 lesson plans changes

    As Jeffco students head back to school this week, shifting district- and state-level policies have led to changes that will eventually find their way to the classrooms.


    Jeffco students will spend less time taking standardized tests this school year after Colorado lawmakers voted in the spring to streamline some exams.

    House Bill 1323 reduces testing time for Colorado Measures of Academic Success exams, which were developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

  • District, teachers tentatively agree on contract

    Negotiators for Jeffco Public Schools and the teachers union Thursday evening preliminarily agreed to a 10-month contract after a three-week stalemate over the agreement’s duration.

    Bargaining team members for the Jefferson County Education Association, who had originally said they would hold out for a three-year contract, said they agreed to the shorter pact in the interest of teachers, who return to schools Monday. 

  • Police called to teacher welcome event

    Lakewood police officers made an appearance at a Jeffco Public Schools orientation for new teachers Aug. 4 after union representatives passing out fliers were told they were trespassing.

    The relationship between the Jefferson County Education Association and the school district has been strained in recent months over two lawsuits, contract negotiations, and an attempt to recall the district’s three conservative school board members.

  • Group supporting recall files complaint

    A Jeffco-based advocacy group that supports the effort to recall the school board’s conservative majority has filed a complaint alleging charitable fraud against an opposing group over a website domain name.