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Aurora school board cancels special meeting related to superintendent-union dispute

Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn smiles with a student in a classroom.
Aurora Superintendent Rico Munn has led the district since 2013.
Andy Cross / The Denver Post

The Aurora school board has canceled a special meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday to discuss an ongoing dispute between the superintendent and teachers union leadership.

“Board members have decided to take a step back and work collaboratively to resolve any outstanding questions or concerns,” the school board said in a statement posted to the district website. “Board members are committed to focusing on their work at hand and continuing to move the district forward.”

The board had called the meeting, with a single “personnel matter” on the agenda, after Superintendent Rico Munn sent a letter highly critical of teachers union leaders to all district employees.

Munn was responding to a letter from the union’s board of directors — sent to the school board but not to Munn — that criticized his leadership and his decisions around reopening classrooms, among other matters. In his letter, Munn accused the union board of operating in a “divisive” manner and making false claims about him.

Personnel matters typically are discussed in closed executive session, but Munn asked that Tuesday’s meeting be public, given that the letters in question were public.

Aurora’s superintendent and the teachers union have been at odds several times over the years, including over when and how to offer in-person instruction during the pandemic. Aurora’s school board majority was elected with support from the teachers union and has taken a much more hands-on approach to governance than many Colorado school boards, sometimes prompting disagreements between Munn and the board over the proper role for each.

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