School & District Management

Recall of Jefferson County, Colo., School Board Members on November Ballot

By Denisa R. Superville — September 08, 2015 1 min read

November 3. That’s the date now set for a recall election in Jefferson County, Colo., that is targeting three school board members who pushed last year to revise the AP U.S. History curriculum to focus on the positive aspects of American history and emphasize patriotism.

That proposal met swift backlash from teachers and students, with some students staging multiple days of walkouts in Colorado’s second largest district.

Earlier this year, a local group, Jeffco United for Action, gathered thousands of signatures to recall the three board members behind the AP U.S. History flap: Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams.

The three conservative board members were elected in 2013 on a ticket that pledged to cut spending and expand school choice programs. But their critics countered that they have sought to foist their conservative agenda on the district, engaged in inappropriate spending, and operated behind closed doors.

By holding the recall election on November 3—the same day as the general election—the district may be able to save some money. A special election could have cost the district about $500,000, the Associated Press reported.

ABC 7 News has statements from all three board members defending their records, which they said included providing $21 million in raises for teachers and free full-day kindergarten for every child who is eligible to receive free-and-reduced price lunch.

Caption: Students in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., line a busy intersection and overpass protesting against a Jefferson County School Board proposal to emphasize patriotism and downplay civil unrest in the teaching of U.S. history, during protests last September. --Brennan Linsley/AP-File

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.