We had such high hopes for the start of the new school year and in fact we debated over whether or not we even need to attend the first board of education meeting tonight. The agenda had five items of which four were for standard operating items that while “normal” are also critical such as agreement with Front Range College, Assessment Software, Service Agreement for Athletic Trainers and School Bus purchase.
The fifth item was the formation of a new stipend/pay for performance committee which is the only reason we delayed dinner in favor of attending the meeting.
Who knew that the most critical and contentious item would be approving the meeting agenda!
While it is well known and documented the obstructionist tactics of board member Denise Montagu, she has along with fellow obstructionists board members Howard and Ward reached a new low with tonight’s work session (special meeting).
From the moment Board President Kerrigan asked for a motion to approve the meeting agenda trouble began. Lori Ward wanted an update of High Plains Academy added to the agenda which Kerrigan explained (as he has numerous times) that a special meeting agenda cannot be modified unless all board members are present and approve unanimously. Kerrigan did offer that the topic was being discussed between himself and Dr. Scheer (superintendent) and would be on the agenda for August 21st meeting or in September.
This was not good enough for Ward, Howard and especially Montagu as this seemed to be a call to arms and the battle was on for approving the agenda.
It was clear that at one point Ward and Howard were willing to respect the rules and the Board President, but Montagu would not allow this and became belligerent, disrespectful and intent on derailing the meeting.
Kerrigan called for a vote to approve the agenda and the vote was 2 yea and 3 nay and so without an approved meeting agenda there was no meeting.
What is even more astounding is what happened next.
Dr. Scheer who had remained silent during the entire agenda debacle continued to remain silent and gave no direction to the video technician to shut down the broadcast in spite of the Board President asking the technician to shut down the broadcast. Kerrigan had to find the button to at least turn off the audio while the video was still being broadcast on channel 14.
Kerrigan and Rice left the meeting while Montagu, Ward and Howard remained and continued conducting school board business even though the meeting was over!
Montagu actually went over to the technician’s desk and turned the audio back on and then proceeded to act as Chair of the school board meeting. It is also important to note that Erv Klein who is in charge of IT/Technology was giving the technician hand signals to keep broadcasting the meeting and it was Margret Crespo (Chief Academic Officer) who finally intervened and made the technician shut down the broadcast on Comcast.
The meeting as published was clearly over and yet Montagu decided to hold her own royal court meeting with fellow board members Ward and Howard. The sunshine law clearly states that a meeting of 3 or more elected officials must be public meetings and that “Posted notices must include specific agendas if at all possible.” which given that the posted agenda failed to be adopted it is a very fine line that Montagu and company were walking tonight.
What is amazing is that in the Reporter Herald article the three obstructionists actually state; “…they will have to vote on action items at the next meeting they didn’t discuss at the work session meeting.”
Montagu, Ward and Howard voted no on approving the meeting agenda which PREVENTED the board from receiving information on the assessment software for math and literacy, on purchasing new school buses so our kids are transported safely to school, on the Front Range College program, on the Athletic Trainers agreement (to keep our kids safe from injury), on the new stipend/pay for performance committee so teachers and staff are paid fairly and now Montagu is whining that she will have to vote on items with no discussion which is hypocrisy in full bloom.
So who is playing games? Who is playing politics?
Click Here for the raw unedited video we recorded after the agenda was voted down and we hope that the district posts the broadcast portion of the meeting tomorrow also unedited just as they have done with all of the previous board meetings.
Update: Link to district video (only 10minutes)
What should always be the absolute priority at every meeting is making decisions that ensure our kids receive the best education we can afford, but instead we continue to have board members such as Montagu, Howard and Ward who seem to put politics and popularity above the needs of our kids.
Montagu, Howard and Ward might want to remember that games are for the playground and that they were not elected to play games, but were elected to govern the school district and ensure that our kids are always to be the focus of every meeting.
C.R.S. 22-32-108. Meetings of the board of education – legislative intent.
(1) Regular meetings of the board of education of a school district shall be held at the time and place provided for in its bylaws. Special meetings may be called by the president at any time, and shall be called by him upon written request of a majority of the members of the board.
(2) The secretary of the board shall cause written notice of any special meeting to be mailed or delivered to each member of the board stating the time, place, and purpose of the meeting; if the notice is delivered, it shall be in the hands of the member no later than twenty-four hours prior to the hour set for the meeting, and if it is mailed, it shall be mailed no later than seventy-two hours prior to the hour set for the meeting.
(3) Any member may waive notice of the time, place, and purpose of a special meeting at any time before, during, or after such meeting, and attendance thereat shall be deemed to be a waiver.
(4) At any special meeting, no business other than that stated in the notice of said meeting shall be transacted, unless all members are present and shall consent to consider and transact other business.