Education, Jefferson County, Politics, Sherrie Peif

Recall group's broken promise costs taxpayers nearly $225-K

File photo: Sherrie Peif
File photo: Sherrie Peif

The three activists who promised thousands of Jeffco voters that recall efforts against the conservative majority of the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education were not union backed took heat recently after it was made public that the National Education Association was the largest contributor to the primary pro-recall organization. It was later revealed that 99.9 percent of Jeffco United’s funding was contributed by various arms of the teachers union.

Those same activists also promised that the recall wouldn’t cost the district a single dime. That, too, has proven false.

“We have been told there will not be additional costs for the recall if we are on the November ballot with the existing school board election,” Wendy McCord told Complete Colorado last July in a statement through the group’s media contact, Lynea Hansen.

McCord never said who gave her and her partners, Michael Blanton and Tina Gurdikian, that information.

According to reports received by Complete Colorado, the recall-only part of the November 2015 elections cost the school district roughly $225,000.*

Elections for the two seats left open by the departure of board minority members Jill Fellman and Leslie Dahlkemper, which were not included in the recall effort, cost the district an additional $100,000.

Both Jefferson County schools and the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder’s Office confirmed through Colorado Open Records Act requests that money that could have gone to school supplies, buses, technology or any other student-focused area was spent on the recall instead.

The City and County of Broomfield billed Jeffco $1,623.60 for the two non-recall open seats and $7,335 for the recall. The Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder’s Office billed the district $216,137.16 for the recall and $98,445.08 for the two open seats.

Ken Witt, former president of the Jeffco school board and one of the members recalled in the election, said he’d like to hear an apology from recall organizers for all the deceit that went into the campaign.

“Now that $225,000 has been officially tallied as the money taken out of Jeffco students’ education for the recall effort, and so shortly after a judge’s ruling for transparency finally forced Jeffco United to reveal that the vast majority of recall funding came from the national, state, and local teachers unions, I wonder if recall ringleaders would like to offer an apology to Jeffco voters for statements that the recall ‘would not cost the district anything’ and that the union was not behind the recall,” Witt said.

In December, Complete Colorado revealed that the National Education Association was responsible for a majority of the startup funding for the recall. 9 News reported a few days later that even more money to the organization poured in from the Colorado Education Association ande Jefferson County Education Association.

*The rounded figure of $225,000 includes approximately $216,000 in Jefferson County (as shown in this document), plus approximately $7,000 in Broomfield County.

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