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Denver School Board Members Get Marriage Counseling

December 03, 2009 1 min read
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Denver’s school board is having such trouble getting along that it has hired a marital counselor to help smooth things over, The Denver Post reports.

The composition of Denver’s board changed with last month’s elections, adding some new members who had campaigned against the pace of reforms the board and district leadership had been implementing, promising voters they would make sure the perspective of neighborhoods would be taken into account.

One of the new board members had her lawyer send a letter saying the board’s Monday action—a vote on turnaround policy by the lame duck school board—was illegal.

That board member, Andrea Merida, had a judge swear her in hours before the board’s official meeting so she could vote against the proposal, leaving the outgoing eight-year board member (a cancer survivor who campaigned for Merida) in tears. She and the other two new members of the board were to be sworn in after the meeting. Merida’s actions have sparked outrage in Denver.

The new board makeup has been troubling for many in Colorado’s education reform community, who have expressed concern that the new board members could slow the pace of reform and make Colorado less attractive in the $4 billion Race to the Top competition. The state has invested a lot of time and energy in the competition, as you can read in this story by my colleague Alyson Klein.

Board members told The Post they are hopeful the therapy session, taking place today at a luxury hotel in Colorado Springs, will help them overcome some of the angst and anger. But in the meantime, Monday’s actions are likely to lead to a court battle that could invalidate the votes.

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

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