Nate Easley recall: DPS board president safe for now as recallers fail to collect enough signatures

Update below: Denver Public School board president Nate Easley has survived an attempt to recall him. Supporters of the effort failed to collect enough valid signatures to place the recall question on an upcoming ballot. They needed 5,363. They collected 5,899. But of those, the Denver Elections Division found that only 3,283 -- shy of 56 percent -- were valid. The signatures had to have been the John Hancocks of registered voters in Easley's district of northeast Denver.

Easley released the following statement after the results were announced yesterday. The "concerned parents" line is likely a reference to the recall supporters -- and petition signers -- who were unhappy with Easley's vote to, among other things, close Montbello High School, his alma mater, and replace it with smaller schools.

It is clear that the proponents of this politically motivated recall election have failed to gather enough signatures to force a recall election.

It is also clear that there is a group of concerned parents, students and educators in Denver's Northeast Community who are not satisfied. I welcome the opportunity to discuss our choices -- do we step backward, and accept the failed status quo, or do we move forward, and embrace the challenge of doing whatever is necessary to ensure that every child in Denver has the opportunity to attend a "great" school.

I truly believe we all want the same thing for the students, District and Denver as a whole. It is my hope that we can all work together in this critical mission to provide quality education for our children. I will continue to make myself available to any and all who would like to discuss ways to improve Denver's schools.

Specifically, I am focused on how our community can work together to: (1) increase parents' engagement in their children's learning; (2) partner with schools to dramatically increase the number of DPS students able to read by the end of their third grade; and (3) desegregate Denver schools and diversity the DPS teaching and administrative teams.

Update, 2:55 p.m.: John McBride, who filed the petition to initiate the recall process against Easley (and who ran for school board himself in 2007), has issued a statement referencing the more than $35,000 Easley raised to fight the recall effort and warning that despite the recall's failure, Easley's "days are numbered."

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Considering that Nate Easley had over $35,000 in campaign contributions from wealthy donors who didn't even live in his district, our unfunded volunteer effort signals the beginning of the end for DPS officials who are tone-deaf to the needs of their constituents.

While we do have significant concerns about the Denver Elections Division's process regarding fairness, accuracy, professional conflicts of interest and alleged leaking of information to Nate Easley's operatives, the fact remains that more people signed the petition to recall Nate Easley than voted to elect him.

If anyone thinks that those 6,000 voices don't matter just because the Elections Division threw out their names, they had better think again. Our grassroots effort should put Mr. Easley on notice that whether through another recall effort or by voting him out of office, his days are numbered as our District 4 school board representative.

The public has no tolerance for elected officials who are bought and paid for. The recall initiative mobilized thousands of people who are dissatisfied with decades of DPS experiments resulting in school shut downs and phase outs that disrupt our communities, displace our children and scapegoat our teachers.

We have built significant political capital within the Northeast and Far Northeast communities, and we intend to use it to improve our schools the right way - in true collaboration with the community.

More from our Education archives: "Nate Easley recall: DPS board president fights back with fliers, robocalls, political allies."

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