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Live-blog: Stevenson will leave Jeffco by end of the month

A worksheet for parents at this weekend’s fair encouraged parents to examine data from charter schools and regular public schools.
Arvada resident Lorraine Bowen.

A standing-room-only crowd is expected to gather Saturday at Jeffco Public Schools headquarters in Golden where the board of education will meet. The board has two agenda items — and it’s safe to say, most won’t be paying too much attention to a three hour discussion on the budget.

The meeting starts at 8 a.m. But the fireworks are scheduled for about 11 a.m. That’s when board president Ken Witt will likely ask the board to move into executive session to discuss a “personnel” matter regarding Superintendent Cindy Stevenson.

Rumors were rampant Friday: the board’s new conservative majority plans to fire Stevenson, who is already plans to retire at the end of the school year.

But no one except Witt, and perhaps the board’s new lawyer Brad Miller, know for sure.

Neither Witt nor Miller returned messages left by Chalkbeat Colorado Friday. The Denver Post reported Miller as saying the board has no intention of firing Stevenson.

There are several possible scenarios on how the board may proceed. In no particular order, here are a few possibilities:

  1. Witt asks the board to move into executive session. The five-member board’s minority, Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman, will publicly push for further insight as to why the board must meet behind closed doors. If they don’t get the answers they’re looking for, the two could block the board from moving into executive session. Under Colorado law, public governing boards must have a two-third’s majority to end public discussion. For Jeffco’s board, that’s four of five votes. At that point, Witt will either need to make a decision to move forward publicly or try again another day.
  2. Between now and 11 a.m., Stevenson may ask Fellman to agree to an executive session. Fellman told Chalkbeat she would approve a closed door meeting if Stevenson agreed with Witt’s request.
  3. Nothing. For several reasons, including Stevenson’s lawyer not being present and the possibility of public backlash, Witt may table whatever he has planned. He may also just want to congratulate her on her new job.
  4. There is a perfectly good explanation — other than the Witt wanting to give Stevenson the boot — to meet in executive session.

Chalkbeat Colorado will be updating this post throughout the morning. You can also follow reporter Nicholas Garcia on Twitter.

UPDATE at 8:23 a.m.

Amid outcry from the audience, Board President Witt ended the meeting. The majority quickly exited, while Lesley Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman stayed to address the audience. The crowd, wearing black and stickers that read “We Support Cindy’ is still mingling discussing the news.

UPDATE at 8:10 a.m.

Superintendent Cindy Stevenson told a standing-room-only crowd she will leave the district, after being educated by it, teaching in it, and leading it.

She said, it was her decision and approached the board.

“I can’t lead, I can’t move the district forward,” she said, holding back tears. “[The board does] not trust me.”

The crowd, filled with teachers, parents, teachers and administrators was visibly angry. Shouting.

Stevenson asked the crowd to be graceful.

UPDATE at 8:03 a.m.

They’re starting with Stevenson issue first.

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