Nate Easley is fighting back. The Denver Public Schools board president is the subject of a recall effort backed by voters unhappy with some of his policies, especially his votes to shutter under-performing schools. Recall proponents have until the end of March to collect 5,363 signatures in order to place the recall question on an upcoming ballot. Meanwhile, Easley is working to make sure that doesn't happen -- and he has significant political support.
Last week, we told you about robocalls recorded on Easley's behalf by former Denver mayor Wellington Webb. The calls urge voters in Easley's district of northeast Denver not to sign the petition to recall him.
"We're going to fight like the dickens to make sure Nate continues to be a member of the Denver school board," Webb told Westword. "He's making tough decisions for what's in the best interest of our kids."
Now, Easley and his supporters have printed a flier titled "Decline to Sign!" It calls the recall attempt "a misguided effort" and responds to allegations that Easley's job as deputy director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation is a conflict of interest. It also includes an impressive list of supporters, including Governor John Hickenlooper.
See a photo of the flier below.
Asked about his strategy for fighting the recall attempt, Easley was direct.
"The strategy is to protect myself," he says. "They've issued a lot of personal attacks on me. What I hear from people is that when they ask people to sign the petition against me, they're not saying, 'He has a conflict of interest.' They're saying, 'Sign this if you want to keep schools open.'" That, Easley says, isn't accurate.
"My focus is on student achievement and making sure we have better outcomes for students," he says. "A good way to do that is by reforming schools."
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Easley says he stands behind his votes and that he's "not worried" about the recall attempt. But, he adds, "at same time, we have to take it seriously.
"There are a lot of falsehoods going on right now about me and what I stand for," he says. "I want to correct those. If voters know who I really am, I have nothing to worry about."
More from our Education archive: "Graduation rates: 72.4 percent of Colorado high school students finished "on time" in 2010."