Denver Public Schools reform vote needs reform

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Tonight, the Denver Public Schools board will consider a range of reform issues involving low-performing schools and much more. But the agenda calls for the outgoing board, including three members who'll be attending their last meeting, to vote on the proposals, leaving incoming representatives, three of them newbies, to either endorse their predecessors' actions or try to alter some or all of them.

None of which makes much sense to Nancy Ulrich, co-president of Denver's League of Women Voters. Earlier this month, she and her fellow co-president, Buzzy Hassrick, sent out a letter publicly asking that this procedure be changed.

"Our main objection is that the old board will vote on the proposal by [Superintendent Tom] Boasberg, but the new board will have to carry it out," Ulrich says. "Since the change in the board membership occurs later in that meeting, the new board then has to follow through or change what the recommendation is, or review it more thoroughly."

Ulrich is hopeful that disaster won't follow. "If you're going to be on the board, you're obviously going to be sitting there, taking it all in, and you'll hopefully have reviewed the situation," she says. But she still believes "Boasberg and the administration would be better served to have the new board deal with the recommendations."

Here's the aforementioned League letter on the topic:

Based on our long-held position on good government, the board of the League of Women Voters of Denver would like to express our concern about the decision-making process being taken by the Denver Public Schools Board of Education regarding the future of certain low-performing schools.

As we understand it, the final decision to be made on the six schools will be made by the current members of the board just moments before the three newly elected members will be sworn in. We are concerned about the apparent rush to judgment that will omit the voices of the incoming board members who have been campaigning in the community over the last two months. Moreover, these new board members are the elected officials who will be responsible for helping to implement these changes and who will be held responsible by the public for the success of the decision. It seems appropriate that they should be the board members who make the decision about the schools.

We hope the Board of Education will change the order in their agenda for the November 30 meeting to allow the new members to be seated before the vote about the low-performing schools is taken.


Nancy Ulrich LWVD Co-President

Buzzy Hassrick LWVD Co-President

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