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Education

  • Appeals court upholds decision that teachers’ sick-leave records are public information

    A Jeffco judge’s decision that teachers’ sick-leave records are public information and not confidential personnel information was upheld in a Jan. 14 state Court of Appeals decision.

    Judges Steve Bernard, Robert Hawthorne and Anthony Navarro upheld a 2015 decision against the Jefferson County Education Association, which sought to prevent the Jeffco school district from releasing the names of teachers who were absent from work during “sick-outs” at several schools in late 2014. More than one Jeffco resident had requested the information.

  • School board reverses previous decision on financing for new school

     The Jeffco school board directed district staff to start paperwork to issue certificates of participation to fund the building of a new school and finish a later phase of an existing school, both in the northern part of the district.

    In a unanimous vote last Thursday, the board decided to start the process to issue COPs to build a K-8 school in Arvada’s Candelas neighborhood. The board voted 4-1 to do the same for long-planned additions to Sierra Elementary School in Arvada.

  • Jeffco school district set to hire new communications director

     The Jeffco school board is set to vote Thursday on a new chief communications officer for the district, a position that has been vacant since June.

    The board will vote whether to hire candidate Diana Wilson, a Lakewood resident whose background includes nearly eight years as a spokeswoman for the Westminster Fire Department and a stint serving on Lakewood’s City Council.

  • Teachers unions played major role in recall effort

     Local and national teachers unions made major donations to the campaign to recall three conservative members of the Jeffco school board, according to financial records ordered released by a state judge.

    Recall critics have said donations from the National Education Association and the Jefferson County Education Association prove that union interests were a guiding force in the ousting of board members John Newkirk, Ken Witt and Julie Williams in the November election.

  • Back to school

    “Love what you do and do what you love.”

    — Ray Bradbury

    Retired Clear Creek High teacher Conradt Fredell willingly gave up his hobbies —woodworking, gardening and music — for seven weeks to return to his other love: teaching.

    Although Fredell, 63, retired in 2011, he returned to the school in August to spend nearly half a semester as a long-term substitute, teaching classes he knows and loves: biology, honors biology and Advanced Placement biology.

  • School board to get sunshine-law training — in secret

    Jeffco’s five new school board members will take about two hours at their next meeting to hear legal advice on “the Colorado Open Meetings Law, the Colorado Open Records Act, conflicts of interest and standards of conduct for local public officials.”

    The sunshine-law training will be held behind closed doors in an executive session.

  • District to hire communications director

    Jeffco Public Schools is in the process of hiring a new communications director, a move schools Superintendent Dan McMinimee delayed for several months during the run-up to the election.

  • New school board set to meet constituents

    Jeffco’s new school board members soon will head out into the community to meet their new constituents, members said at their first full board meeting Nov. 30.

    Ron Mitchell, Ali Lasell, Susan Harmon, Amanda Stevens and Brad Rupert, who were elected Nov. 3, said they would begin coordinating with various groups in each of their districts to set up meetings.

    As the district heads into budget season, board members will host community budget forums, which Stevens said could be a good opportunity to get to know Jeffco residents better.

  • Jeffco’s recall free-for-all spurs call for campaign finance reform

    An ethics watchdog group has called for state campaign finance reform in the wake of the release of contribution figures from the Jeffco school district’s contentious recall election.

    While any change to the Colorado Constitution, which specifies how elections are conducted, would require a statewide vote, Peg Perl, senior counsel for Colorado Ethics Watch, said Colorado legislators can take several steps to bring more transparency to local elections, including:

  • Hearing date set for campaign finance complaint

    The state has set a hearing date for a complaint filed by a Colorado Springs-based watchdog organization accusing groups involved in instigating the recall of three Jeffco school members of violating state campaign finance laws.