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May 21, 2014 11:40 AM UTC

Jeffco Parents Push for Answers in Superintendent "Search"

  • by: Colorado Pols

As John Aguilar of the Denver Post reports:

Dozens of community members are demanding to know contract details for the next Jefferson County Schools superintendent before the board convenes for a special meeting Tuesday to decide whether to hire Daniel McMinimee to helm the 85,000-student school district.

In a cascade of e-mails sent to school board members and others this week, parents and teachers are requesting that they not only get to see a draft of the contract but get the chance to speak publicly at next week's meeting.

Concern has been growing in Jefferson County since a Republican takeover of the School Board last fall that began with a series of open meetings violations and unexplained expenditures. Parents and community members have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of transparency, particularly with the recent announcement that McMinimee, an assistant superintendent in Douglas County, was the only finalist for the vacant superintendent position despite paying out $40,000 for a firm to conduct a "national search." Board President Ken Witt has made little effort to pretend to listen to the community, and some of the decisions he championed in December are fueling anxiety with McMinimee's pending hire:

Board member Lesley Dahlkemper started the e-mail chain late Monday by saying she did not want to vote on a contract "without seeing it first." That's what happened in December, she said, when the board's conservative majority — made up of Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams — approved hiring Colorado Springs-based Miller Sparks LLC as the board's legal counsel...

Dahlkemper also said it is critical that the community get a chance to address the board formally about McMinimee and the details of his contract. The position is advertised as paying $280,000 a year.

That's right, folks. The Jeffco School Board came up with ONE finalist for a position that pays $280,000 a year. Sure thing.


16 thoughts on “Jeffco Parents Push for Answers in Superintendent “Search”

  1. Correction: Republicans on the JeffCo School Board came up with one finalist. It sounds like the two Board members in the minority haven't been let in on a single step of this process.

    This kind of secrecy shouldn't be possible. Let the two minority Board members lose every vote – but they should be able to vote at least knowing what they're voting on, and what actions are being taken on their behalf as members of the Board.

    1. Further, if the Board majority is willing to vote on this because they already have the contract in hand and have seen the details of this $40,000 search – how is it that they know these things if they haven't met in a regular Board meeting?

  2. What really sticks about this is the unnecessary gamesmanship. As Phoenix points out, they are the majority, they are going to get what they want in the end anyway. But, they hide behind executive sessions (for personnel discoussions) so that they do not have to explain themselves. There is no doubt that there were several other candidates that would have been more appealing to the community at large (more experience actually running a same size or larger district, better credentials, i.e. phd, female, minority, not DougCo), but if they has announced some of those candidates as additional finalists, the community would have made it clear that McMinnimee was the community's last choice. If there is no one to compare him to, he cannnot suffer by comparison.

    One other thing, $280,000 is a lot of money, but I sincerely doubt he would be taking this job if they are not guaranteeing several years pay as severance. He is stepping into a hornet's nest and he knows that he will have no job security.  When the community finds out (after he is hired) that he has a golden parachute, there is going to be a lot more screaming.

    1. It's worse than that, though, EW.

      The two Board members in the minority are apparently not privvy to the details, at least according to one of those Board members. That's not Executive Session – excluding Board members is a violation of the way any School Board should operate.

    2. Details are out. 5 years x 280k = 1.4 million over the contract term. He is going to be the superintendent for a while, or there is going to be an expensive buy out.

  3. ho hum.  The minority members of the Denver Board of Eduction routinely complained about not receiving information and they were routiney attacked by the "progressives" on this blog…..but that was different, of course.

    The time to protest is BEFORE elections not after……remember Wisconsin.

    Elections have consequences.

    1. Well, being human carries burdens, being omniscient isn't isn't one of them. We are what we are.  Too bad …

      But, then, we wouldn't be us.  So, maybe, not so bad.

  4. Juast curious. How many of the persons posting on this thread, thus far, actually live in Jeff Co?  Like I said; it's a curiosity question.

    1. Not I – but my wife works in the county, and I spend a lot of my time in JeffCo.

      Not that it really matters. I don't live in the San Luis Valley, either, but I care about the state of their schools like I would (and should) care about children throughout the state, country, and world.

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