BREAKING: Jeffco Recall Petitions Validated

Ken Witt, John Newkirk, Julie Williams (WNW).

Ken Witt, John Newkirk, Julie Williams (WNW).

A press release moments ago from Jeffco United confirms that the Jefferson County Clerk has validated petition signatures to force a recall of the conservative majority on the Jefferson County school board. For each of the three board members targeted, more than double the number of signatures were not just collected, but validated–which indicates a very high validity rate, and a clean petition drive.

Today, the Jeffco Clerk issued a statement of valid signatures to Jeffco United for Action of double the required 15,000 signatures per board member.

Ken Witt 33,942 valid signatures
John Newkirk 34,188 valid signatures
Julie Williams 33,900 valid signatures

“In an unprecedented move, we as a community collected more than double the number of valid signatures needed to recall school board members Witt, Newkirk and Williams in just over two weeks. The message is clear, the people of Jefferson County want to hold this Board Majority accountable and demand a recall vote on November 3rd,” started Tina Gurdikian, mother of two Jeffco students and one of the parents who pulled the recall petitions.

“We have done our job, and now it’s time to let the people vote on November 3rd whether the School Board Majority deserves to be recalled,” stated Michael Blanton, a father of two Jeffco students and parent who pulled the recall petitions.

Next, begins a 15-calendar day protest period. Any registered voter in the school district can file a protest. Once the protest period has ended on September 2nd, the Clerk will set the date for the election which the parents hope will be November 3rd to coincide with the existing coordinated election.

“Now is the time for our opponents to step up and ask their supporters to not protest the overwhelming intent of the Jeffco petition signers. Should they choose to play games, opponents to the recall will cost the school district over half a million dollars, dollars that could otherwise be going to benefit our students,” concluded Wendy McCord a mother of three Jeffco students and the third parent who pulled the recall petitions.

It remains to be seen whether a protest will be filed, but the huge margin over the minimum number of signatures needed to proceed with the recall all but guarantees any such challenge would be unsuccessful. That means the realistic best-case scenario would be to delay the recall election past November 3rd, not to prevent it. It’s an open question whether holding a separate election would benefit board members trying to survive the recall, or make it easier for the recall to succeed–we’ve heard arguments on both sides of this question.

Either way, a protest would result in a large additional expense for the district if the election isn’t held on November 3rd, and at this point recall opponents would take the blame if that were to occur. Given all of these variables, and the overall inevitability of a recall due to organizers smashing their petition goals, it’s possible that conservative supporters of the board majority will opt against a challenge.

That would be the smart play, because with this enormously successful petition drive, the Jeffco community and stakeholders in Jeffco’s public schools have expressed their desire clearly. 

They want a recall. And they’re going to get one.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    Cry havoc and slip loose the dogs of war!

  2. mamajama55 says:

    Good job, Jeffco organizers.

  3. BlueCat says:

    Very impressive.

  4. skeptical citizen says:

    Now will be curious to track the $$$ flowing from the Kochtopus and similar groups to defend the conservative incumbents.

    • mamajama55 says:

      It's not all Koch money – some of it is Independence Institute /Heritage Foundation /Coors Foundation money. Some of it is right out of the Republican and Tea Party activist base and funds. It's basically the same 15 or so people playing musical chairs with media groups, foundations and nonprofits, and school boards. Perhaps someone will write a diary on it someday.

      Some places to start, if you want to begin investigating:

      Devan Crean (former right wing blogger, Dougco activist,  now hired in Jeffco in Marketing and Media) –  her website Education Reform, is funded by Independence Institute and Compass Colorado.

      LIsa Pinto, just resigned as Jeffco Communications mgr, was the former communications director of the RNC's Independent Expenditure Committee, known as COREIEC,  and also of Novitas Commuications.

      JeffcoStudentsFirst.org, the anti-recall, pro-Board group, has walk pieces funded by the Koch's AFP-Colorado. They are an out of state corporate nonprofit with an 18 million dollar budget in 2012. (found on TRACER – look the name up under businesses)

      Coloradans for Real Education Reform – This was the group that defeated Amendment 66. Jonathan Lockwood, of Advancing Colorado,  and paid by the Koch Bros for the last three years, was the media mastermind there. They are funded by Compass Colorado and the Independence Institute.

      Under everyone's radar is the state Board of Education, which potentially could be completely controlled by Republican anti-common core people, filling Marcia Neal's and potentially two other vacancies.  Anita Stapleton is just one of these candidates. The Koch brothers are virulently anti-common core, and these candidates will probably get a nice little snort of Koch to jumpstart their campaigns.

      This is just some of the info I collected on funding in education issues in Colorado. My process is that I just collect links, read, and become informed for a long time before I'm ready to write about an issue. But if you feel inspired to research and write, please do.

       

  5. Zappatero says:

    These Losers out-losered the Losers who tried this same bunch of Loser crap in CoSprings D-11 where the whole bunch of Conservative Nut Losers were Recalled

    And we wonder why they wanted to change the AP History curriculum? Nope….they were doomed from the start.

  6. Duke Cox says:

    Last Friday night, at the recently renovated Avalon theatre in Grand Junction, my wife and I attended a screening of a documentary film entitled, Education, Inc. The "reform effort" in Douglas County and Jeffco is the subject of the fairly short, but very informative and energizing film. Over $500,000,000 per year of taxpayer money is up for grabs. By some accounts, the corporate charter school industry has its sights set on district 51, next or very soon.

    I told the crowd of some 150 in the theatre about Pols coverage of the situation and invited them to join us. Pols coverage of the corporate raiding of our schools might be good reading for lots of Grand Valley folks…

  7. observe says:

    The recall organizers obviously had an impressive signature gathering effort. Yet it appears they really screwed up the calendar timing of this effort. I'm surprised they made such a blunder. It seems they could've timed the petition submission to allow for the Clerk's verification period and the potential protest perioud to all happen in time for it to still land on the November general election ballot. Now they resort to "THOSE PEOPLE who protest may cause this to cost $thousands. Seems to me this could've been avoided by better planning.

  8. Gadfly says:

    They simply forgot the job they were elected to do.  Who can forget the Denver Post puff piece where the Nevilles compared themselves to the Kennedys because of their school board triumph in Jeffco.  They had a voter mandate and spent every day squandering it in some manner.  All three will be overwhelmingly voted out of office come November

  9. mamajama55 says:

    Wow, that was quick. Three successor Jeffco School Board Candidates popped up on my Facebook feed.

    Ron Mitchell, Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon plus the two who already announced for the two vacancies: Ali Lasell and Amanda Stevens.

    I'd say that the timing was pretty darn good, considering that these folks had to have already gotten the petition signatures for their candidacies while we were waiting to see if the opponents would challenge the validity of the recall petition signatures.

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