JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — An explosive school board meeting in Jefferson County Saturday began with the resignation of a long-time superintendent before ending in a chorus of boos directed at conservative members of the board.
There was a shift in board politics following the November election, which brought in a new conservative majority. Following the election, Dr. Cindy Stevenson announced her plans to retire on June 30, but, Saturday, she said she’s leaving in two weeks because of problems with the new board members.
Amateur video captured Saturday morning’s contentious school board meeting as Stevenson said she could no longer lead the district.
“You must have trust and respect,” she said. “They do not trust me and they do not respect me.”
And so, despite a standing ovation from a room full of her supporters, Stevenson announced her resignation.
“My issue is serving you, serving our community and, most importantly, our kids,” she continued. “So I did approach the board, we will be reaching an agreement, I will be gone by the end of the month, and I just want you to know.”
Newly elected board president Ken Witt didn’t answer questions directed at him during the contentious meeting, but he did speak to FOX31 Denver’s Kent Erdahl later in the day.
“It was disappointing that the meeting was disrupted,” Witt said. “I think there was some organized attendance there that made it difficult to conduct business, and that’s unfortunate.”
Witt also answered Stevenson’s accusation that the board doesn’t trust or respect her.
“I was disappointed with that comment, but trust is a two-way street and we’re going to move forward,” Witt said.
During the meeting, fellow board member Lesley Dahlkemper attempted to ask the new members how the decision is good for 85,000 students in the district.
Though Witt didn’t answer before the meeting adjourned, FOX31 Denver’s Kent Erdahl asked Witt whether JeffCo Schools was better off with or without Stevenson.
“You know, Dr. Stevenson has already announced her resignation, so we’re focused on the future and we’re focused on finding the right and best superintendent that we can attract to this district, and we’re going to move forward with our academic goals.”