Boggs in line for second school board censure

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Her agreement with radio host’s comment sparks outrage

By Gabrielle Porter

Jeffco school board member Laura Boggs has once again angered other board members with her comments, this time agreeing with a radio host that the district superintendent “should be shot” for having a full-time employee to update social media.

Boggs likely will receive her second censure at the Nov. 1 board meeting. The board censured her in 2010 for a variety of behavior, including linking the words “school” and “stupid” on a classroom white board and telling Superintendent Cindy Stevenson she would “tear this county apart.”

In an interview recently with conservative radio host Jason Worley of Grassroots Radio Colorado on KLZ-AM, Worley mentioned the often-rebutted claim that the district has a full-time employee whose only duty involves updating social media.

“If you have a (full-time) Facebook person still (on staff) in Jefferson County, your superintendent should be shot,” Worley said.

“Yes,” Boggs can be heard saying. After another short exchange, she laughs with Worley.

The district has maintained it does not have an employee whose only job is updating social media.

Boggs has said the interview was over the phone, and she didn’t hear exactly what Worley had said.

But at the Oct. 25 board study session, board members expressed their disapproval of Boggs’ agreement with the statement, especially in a district that has seen two school shooting incidents.

Boggs allowed that it was a “terribly inappropriate comment, terribly inappropriate reaction.”

A censure does not limit Boggs’ participation on the board or change her duties as a board member. It simply stands as formal disapproval of a board member's conduct by other members. The board has never censured another member in its history.

‘Actions have consequences’

Boggs said she wrote a note of apology to Stevenson and asked for her forgiveness, but Stevenson said she found it a hollow apology.

Boggs didn’t speak again while other board members gave their opinions during the work session last week.

Board president Lesley Dahlkemper said Boggs fails to understand a board member’s responsibilities.

“Your reaction to the comment was reprehensible,” Dahlkemper said. “I think especially so when you think about the history of this district.”

Board member Paula Noonan said Boggs’ reaction to Worley’s comment showed she doesn’t take the board’s business seriously.

“Over the three years that you and I have served together, I guess I’m just really regretful that you haven’t been able to find a way to respect the people in this district,” Noonan told Boggs. “I would like you to be serious about the challenges that this district faces. … I’ve been known to be surly, and I have been known to be sarcastic, and I have been known to be snarky. But I am not those things about this district for which I care so much.”

Board member Jill Fellman proposed the censure.

“Even after an apology, actions have consequences,” Fellman said.

Board member Robin Johnson said the comment should never have been made.

“The comment that was made was a completely inappropriate comment for the society that we live in now, and completely inappropriate for you to agree and laugh about it,” she said.

Radio host Worley did not return e-mails seeking comment about the conversation, although he posted about it on his Facebook page, saying: “Did I make an unfortunate choice of phrase? Yes. But the superintendent should be ‘shocked and saddened’ that one of her schools has 96 percent of 10th-graders who are not proficient in math. Words versus actions, and they want more money to continue to fail.”

Worley didn’t specify which school he was referring to in the post.

Ongoing rancor

Boggs, who was elected to the board in 2009, has clashed repeatedly with Stevenson and with her fellow board members, especially over proposed property-tax hike measures 3A and 3B on the November ballot.

Boggs is the only board member who opposes the measures.

Earlier this year, board members chastised Boggs after complaints about the way she handled a May community forum in Evergreen about budget priorities. Parents and district staff complained that Boggs monopolized the forum’s time and was rude to some attendees.

Boggs’ first censure

When Boggs’ was censured the first time, Stevenson wrote a letter to board members informing them of Boggs’ comments in a meeting between the two. Stevenson said that Boggs:

• Threatened to expose (Stevenson’s) “lies” and show how she had undermined board relationships.

• Planned to call Washington, D.C., to endanger the Jeffco Teacher Incentive Fund Grant, a five-year, $32.8 million grant awarded in September.

• Said she would “tear this county apart.” Stevenson said she took that comment as a threat against the school district. The letter did not provide any context for Boggs’ statement.

Contact Gaby Zastrocky at gabrielle@evergreenco.com or follow at Twitter.com/gabriellereport.