The Superintendent sent an email to the members of the Board of Education of Adams 14 advising them to bar non-residents of Adams 14 District from speaking during the public comments portion of Board meetings. I think this is ill-advised and hope that my colleagues on the Board will agree with me.
First, the Adams 14 community consists of more than just the residents of Adams 14. Surely, teachers who may live outside the boundaries of Adams 14, have a huge stake in our children’s education. A Commerce City Councilman who lives outside Adams 14 still has a vested interest in our well-being. In fact, many, many people who don’t live in Adams 14 have a vested interest in how well we educate the individuals of our future. As taxpayers they are interested and entitled to participate.
The Superintendent erroneously refers to Board Policy about “Public Participation at Board Meetings” (BEDH) as being consistent with his belief that public comments should be restricted to only individuals who live in the Adams 14 District or have children in Adams 14 District. There is no such restriction in BEDH. The opening sentence is as follows: “All regular and special meetings of the Board shall be open to the public.”
If the Superintendent doesn’t want input from outside the District, perhaps he shouldn’t listen to the people at CDE or accept funds from the State and Federal governments.
The Superintendent is in error jumping to a faulty conclusion. People inside and outside of Adams 14 have disagreements over how schools are run. He doesn’t have to look any further than the Board of Adams 14 to find differences of opinion. That’s all part of a working democracy.
Unfortunately, the superintendent’s email contains several inflammatory claims. He claims that one individual threatened the Board, stating that four of them would be recalled and that the superintendent would be fired. That is not a threat; it is probably his belief.
He also accuses Mr. Jorge Garcia of continuing to claim that the superintendent does not support bilingual education and that the district is out of compliance with the Office for Civil Rights Agreement. It is not just Mr. Garcia who holds that position. There is a long-standing argument on both counts. The Superintendent’s saying something doesn’t necessarily make it true.
The Superintendent would prefer that certified and classified personnel be banned from speaking because they have a bargaining agreement. While they do have collective bargaining rights, I see no reason for them to forfeit one right for another. I’m glad that I don’t have to choose just one of the rights under the U.S. Bill of Rights!
I view his statement that “individuals who do not live in our community are hindering the educational process, disrupting the board’s business, and are not allowing us to meet the needs of our students” as hyperbole.
His closing statement that he wants to “better serve our students and provide our staff with an environment free from harassment, threats, and a hostile environment” needs to start with his own staff. For a single, but not only, reference, I am attaching a memo from Yvonne Bradford and Gina Autobee, UniServ Directors of the SD14 Classroom Teachers’ Association.