Pay_To_Play

Is Colorado’s largest school district involved in a pay-to-play scheme?

At their last school board meeting on Jan 17, 2013, Jefferson County (JeffCo) Board of Education (BOE) violated its own policies in what appears to be a pay-to-play scheme benefiting a major campaign contributor and local contractor.

Described in a press release issued by citizen watchdog group, Jefferson County Students First, the BOE awarded over $4 million additional dollars to one of the largest “Yes on 3A/3B” campaign donors without offering a competitive bidding process.  This is in direct violation of the board’s own policies which exists, in part, to ensure prudent use of tax dollars. It is no coincidence that this recklessness came just after the passing of a Bond and Mill Levy, giving the district an additional $138 million. The one Republican board member, Laura Boggs tried to do the right thing, but her efforts did not fare well with the remaining board members:

BOE President Lesley Dahlkemper explained that Bogg’s concerns had already been addressed in a “public email response” from Superintendent Cindy Stevenson to Director Boggs; the other board members were copied. A copy of this email had to be obtained via an open records request because the school district posted it on their non-public website. Normally, public communication is accessible to the public; this one was not.  JeffCo did not initially provide the email upon request. Continue reading

JeffCo Public Schools, home of Columbine, still has no MOU with the Sheriff

In the wake of Sandy Hook, one might think that Jefferson County Public Schools, home of Columbine, would have taken the lead on school safety and security; not so much.  In fact, there still remains no memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the school district and JeffCo’s Sheriff Department, despite pressure from local residents, parents, and activists. 

Since Columbine, the following major safety and security incidents have been documented in Colorado’s largest school district.  Lest we forget the following incidents have all occurred under Dr. Cindy Stevenson’s watch:

  1. Jessica Ridgeway – murdered by teen killer (recent graduate of JeffCo) while walking to school after her bus route was cut despite reckless spending by the district (7 News Investigates Video)  Note, Jessica used to ride the bus to school before the district cut her bus route to save money.  Nevermind the documented millions of dollars wasted by the district. 
  2. Aurora Theater Shooting – was not in JeffCo, but close enough to home for it to have made an impact; no action taken by the district.
  3. Numerous Teachers arrested, investigated and/or forced transferred for sexual exploitation of minors by a person in position of trust, despite their documented history of such behavior
  4. Bus driver with history of DUI passes background and hits 3 students on their way home from school
  5. Platte Canyon School Shooting where females were held hostage, sexually assaulted leaving one dead.
  6. Deer Creek Shooting
  7. Columbine.

Continue reading

vet

A Veterans Day Message

by Jen Raiffie | 11 November 2012 | updated 15 November 2012

One month ago Taliban scum attempted to murder, in cold blood, a 15- year old girl, Malala Yousufzai, in Mingora of Pakistan’s northwest Swat Valley.  The crime:  Malala was campaigning for girls’ right to an education.

Miraculously, Malala has survived and won the hearts of millions around the world.  In her honor, the United Nations marked Saturday, November 10, 2012, “Malala Day,” a global day of action in honor of her brave efforts.

Just five days ago, America re-elected a President who wants to engage in “civil discourse” with the likes of those who tried to murder Malala. There is no irony in the fact that while Malala and her supporters are fighting for the right to an education, Americans are letting theirs slip away.

Today is Veterans Day, and Americans just validated Obama’s policies of big spending and big government which continue to threaten our freedoms in the name of class warfare and “fairness;” those same freedoms for which so many have fought and died.

My friends at Revealing Politics and others like Rebel Pundit spent the last several weeks exposing the civic stupidity of American voters. Seldom could one even name a single policy they supported and when questioned about a policy they did “know,” their ignorance shined through.

Continue reading

Crunching the numbers: biggest school bond, mill elections

source: 9 News

DENVER – Just three metro area school districts alone are asking voters for a financial influx of $803 million on Election Day in exchange for a higher property tax rate. With the governor’s promise of more money for schools, how may that impact the numbers?

In Jefferson County, the school district wants voters to consider a $99 million bond issue for building projects, and a $39 million mill levy override to increase classroom budgets. The impact would be a property tax increase of about $44 for the year on a $300,000 home.

Governor John Hickenlooper’s budget, released Thursday, promises more money to K-12 schools. This is due in part to a one-time influx of an estimated $678 million into the state education fund thanks to House Bill 12-1338. Continue reading

Jeffco board censures Boggs again

source:  Ed News

GOLDEN – Jefferson County school board members have again voted to censure fellow board member Laura Boggs, this time for remarks she made during a radio interview in which she agreed Superintendent Cindy Stevenson “should be shot.”

Jeffco Superintendent Cindy Stevenson talks about education reform in this EdNews file photo.

The five-member board voted 4-0 in favor of censure – under board procedures, Boggs is not allowed to vote on the motion – after more than an hour of public comment from more than 20 speakers arguing for and against the action.

Continue reading

JeffCo BoE considers censure – again

source:  Ed News

GOLDEN – Jefferson County school board members have scheduled another censure vote against board member Laura Boggs after she agreed with a radio host that Superintendent Cindy Stevenson “should be shot.”

Board members listened to a snippet of the lengthy Oct. 18 interview between Boggs and Jason Worley, co-host of conservative Grassroots Radio Colorado on 560 AM, at the board’s work session Thursday.

Jeffco Superintendent Cindy Stevenson

During the interview, the two discussed the school district’s proposed tax increases, which Boggs opposes. Worley, incensed by the idea of a Jeffco employee focused on social media, said, “If you have a Facebook person still in Jefferson County, your superintendent should be shot.”

“Yes,” Boggs responded.

“I’m sorry,” Worley said.

“Yep,” Boggs said. Continue reading

Jessica’s Angels moving ahead with school watch without JeffCo Schools

source:  Westword

The proliferation of child-abduction-attempt reports (like one yesterday in Parker) following ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway’s abduction and murder has plenty of people looking for what they can do to make kids safer. One example: Jessica’s Angels, a group whose members (including driving force Alex Groen, a Pomona High School junior seen here) will be watching over kids en route to school starting today despite the Jefferson County School District’s current reluctance to bless their efforts.

Continue reading

JeffCo has made NO changes since Jessica Ridgeway

New $9 Mill phone system can’t auto dial?

Source:  Denver Post

School districts looking to improve efficiency and manage tight budgets are on a quest to streamline management of data about everything from student finances to grades — and even notification of parents and guardians when their student isn’t in class.

But after 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway didn’t make it to school Oct. 5, questions have popped up about protocols for reporting thousands of absent Colorado kids to parents daily.

Witt Elementary School called the girl’s mother and left a message, following protocol for Jefferson County Public Schools.  The mother, who worked night shifts, slept through the call and became aware that her daughter was missing only late in the afternoon.  By the time the message was received, Jessica was gone. Her body was found Oct. 10 near Pattridge Park Open Space in Arvada.

Jeffco uses a tiered system of notification. There are automated alerts for high school students, and secretaries typically call the number on file for absent elementary students.

“Our experience is that elementary parents like the personal contact from the school,” said Lynn Setzer, school district spokeswoman. Continue reading

Is JeffCo Creating A Culture Of Destruction?

SRO Put 10 Year Old On 35 Year Sex Offender Registry For Behaving Like A Normal Boy

Source:  Examiner

Jefferson County school district, the largest in the State of Colorado has never had a formal agreement or memorandum of understanding to pinpoint the purpose of law enforcement presence in their schools. Operation School Resource Officer (SRO)- what is the purpose? Today, Denver Public Schools long awaited grasp on the role of SRO’s in their public schools is becoming reality thus fostering collaboration with kids, parents, school officials and a sense of pride for kid’s being able to connect to their learning environment. Meanwhile, in Jefferson County…

At the June 7, 2012 Jeffco R1 regular board of education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Cindy Stevenson presented an award, the first ever of its kind, to the, “School Resource Officer of the Year”, Sgt. Jim Parr of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Again, with no understanding for the level of involvement this sergeant has in the public schools, his award was presented to him by the superintendent on the basis of, “Sgt. Parr’s commitment to excellence, professionalism and guidance has had a lasting and positive impact on the lives of thousands of Jefferson County students and staff.”

10 year old is now a sex offender until the age of 35.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office currently maintains the largest school resource officer unit in the county with 10 deputies and a sergeant assigned to the public schools- at the expense of county operations. County operation over sight is governed by the county commissioners- all three county commissioners at this time take no public position on the condition of the public schools nor the $752,308 in taxpayer supported salary expenditures, not including benefits, to support the SRO unit of the Sheriff’s Department.

Immediately following the presentation of the award given to Sgt. Parr at this same meeting on June 7, 2012, Jeffco School Board President, Lesley Dahlkemper, presented yet another award. This award, again the first ever of its kind, “to recognize the volunteer efforts of School Resource Officer and Jefferson County Sheriff’ Deputy Greg Everhart for six years of school and community interactions providing critical awareness for life safety for students.”

On April 16th, 2012, approximately two months prior to receiving his award from the school board president for his volunteer efforts, Deputy Everhart gave a presentation to an auditorium full of parents at D’Evelyn High School in Jefferson County. During this presentation, the deputy shared many experiences in his role as a school resource officer although he failed to differentiate his roles between paid and volunteer service. Deputy Everhart speaking for other paid law enforcement personnel has been able to address issues that are according to him, “destroying kids’ lives.” Deputy Everhart appeared to have a keen sense for what is considered appropriate for a 10 year old to be “convicted to the sex offender registry until he’s 35 years old.” Deputy Everhart states, “it’s very serious business…as a school resource officer we are basically tasked with being a liaison with the schools to solve problems, bottom line.” What problems are being solved?

Continue reading

Westminster Teacher Arrested In Child Porn Investigation

A Westminster middle school teacher has been arrested and accused of possessing child pornography, police said Tuesday.

Daniel Stephen Patterson, 35, who lives in Lakewood, was arrested Thursday by Lakewood police detectives on suspicion of felony sexual exploitation of a child, police said .

Patterson is a language arts teacher at Mandalay Middle School in Westminster, Lakewood police spokesman Steven Davis said in a news release. 

Neither Davis nor JeffCo schools will comment on why Patterson was a forced transfer to Mandalay. -Jen Raiffie, Spotlight On Corruption

Continue reading

JeffCo Still Has No Memorandum Of Understanding With Sheriff

EVEN AFTER COLUMBINE, DEER CREEK, & PLATTE VALLEY SHOOTINGS, NO MOU EXISTS

Source:  Examiner

Tragedy has struck Colorado again. Presumably, a deranged individual has chosen another crowded venue as a scene to end innocent lives. Aside from challenging our thought process with a seemingly inconsequential explanation for a heinous act of targeting innocent victims for murder, including children, let us be reminded of the importance and cause for a citizenry to evaluate their own safety, and the safety of their children.

The Aurora, Colorado theater shooting has many all across our great nation grasping for answers. With high probability, there may never be any answers to explain this senseless tragedy. This doesn’t stop the bewilderment many are struggling with based on unexplainable motives of epic proportional failure as it relates to respect for human life.

Let us pay respect to the victims of this tragedy which amongst them we have now learned, are children. The sodality of lives young and old begs the question: “Are we leaving this world a better place for our children?” We must prevail as a nation that can, and will do better for its children. Our children must be protected from these senseless tragedies. It is our personal responsibility to ensure this is being accomplished.

Currently, the Jefferson County School District, the largest in the State of Colorado, allows multiple law enforcement agencies to serve within its 154 schools spread across the county. Fully aware, the Board of Education has failed to task the superintendent at implementing a clear understanding of law enforcement interaction specific to Sheriff’s Deputies and officers assigned to individual schools. These taxpayer supported law enforcement officials are referred to as School Resource Officers. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office has the most deputies assigned of all the local law enforcement agencies- with ten full-time assigned deputies for the schools. Continue reading

JeffCo Spends $9Million on phones despite budget crunch

In the name of  ‘safety and security’

Source: 7 news
Parents Outraged!

It’s a matter of security, efficiency, and safety.” – Superintendent Cindy Stevenson. 

The state’s largest school district is replacing its phone system at a cost of $9 million despite a $40 million budget deficit that will result in school closures, teacher cuts, increased class sizes and fees for bus transportation, a CALL7 investigation found. 

Shock Video: John Ferrugia interviews Superintendent Cindy Stevenson

Continue reading

JeffCo Schools Partners With Tipsy’s Liquor To Raise Money

Source:  Examiner

Nothing says GO TEAM more than a family friendly beer festival!  Or perhaps nothing is more of a detriment to the work being done by many intergovernmental agencies and task force operations to eliminate under age alcohol consumption. Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink warns about the dangers and consequences of driving while intoxicated in his county- as his school resource officer’s work diligently within Dakota Ridge High School to curb under age drinking.

An organization covertly known as the Dakota Ridge Athletic Foundation partnered with Tipsy’s Liquor World today May 19, 2012, to host the first in a series of family friendly “Taste of Tipsy’s” fundraisers- in order to send the Dakota Ridge High School football team to Florida in August. Continue reading

JeffCo Student Survey Invades The Home And Parental Rights

Source:  Examiner

At the April 5, 2012 regular business meeting of the Jeffco Board of Education, a so called presentation was given by the chief academic officer and the director of instructional data services of the school district. What was being conveyed during this presentation was a smoke and mirrors discussion about the results of the Make Your Voice Heard Survey. This survey is administered to students in grades 2-12 on a biennial basis. Students in Jeffco were directed to take this survey on line, in January/February of 2012.

There were no real results presented at the board meeting. Instead, those in attendance at this meeting were treated to another smoke and mirrors scenario from school principals on activities occurring in select schools to make kids feel more comfortable, none of which had any direct correlation to student achievement. Also revealed at this meeting, for the first time ever, Jefferson County is now tracking results of this survey by individual student ID#’s.

This chain of events is proving problematic for the school district; they are not complying with parent’s requests to view their child’s traceable survey results. After obtaining an open records request specific to the questions administered to kids, the list of questions showed inconsistencies in sequential order that may be indicative of “hidden questions” being asked of students. Therefore, parents want to know, and are being told no to their requests to view their own child’s survey results. Continue reading

Jeffco teacher accused of sexual assaults passed state background check

SpotCorruption:

Source:  Fox News
Newscast video

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A Jefferson County substitute teacher charged with sexually assaulting a 6th grade girl, had a long history of sexual assault accusations FOX 31 Denver has learned.

But 47-year-old Vincente Vitela passed a Colorado Department of Education background check, despite several complaints filed with the state by Denver Public Schools.He was a substitute teacher at Lumberg Elementary School in Edgewater in mid-February when he was reported. Authorities arrested him February 25.

FOX 31 has confirmed Vitela was accused of sexual harassment, misconduct, and three sexual assaults on children while working as an assistant principal at Ashley Elementary School in Denver.

Denver Public Schools spokesperson Kathy Armstrong told us, “The Colorado Department of Education was given the proper notification,” about those allegations after Vitela resigned in 2005.

The Colorado Department of Education keeps track of complaints and does background checks on all potential employees before they are allowed to work in schools.

But Vitela’s history of serious sexual allegations wasn’t enough to stop him from getting a teaching position with Jefferson County Public Schools in 2009.

Jeff Baker, the director of employment services for Jefferson County Public Schools, said the education department’s background check on Vitela came back clean, and his teaching license was in good standing. “There was no indication that there was anything irregular,” he said.

The Colorado Department of Education sent us a statement which says under state law, it can only report information “about an individual’s background…if there is a conviction for a felony…a misdemeanor offense involving a child…unlawful sexual behavior or domestic violence…”

But while Vitela was accused multiple times, he was never convicted which gave him the opportunity to continue to work in schools, and investigators say, find another victim.

The Colorado Department of Education said school districts are required by law not only to get a background from the state, but also check the potential employee’s previous employer.

Jefferson County said it checked with Vitela’s most recent employer, a tutoring company, and he was given a good recommendation.

Originally posted on KDVR.com:

[ooyala code="JwOHlvMzrxUJDeqIZ89maamLrm8sKcZL"]

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A Jefferson County substitute teacher charged with sexually assaulting a 6th grade girl, had a long history of sexual assault accusations FOX 31 Denver has learned.

But 47-year-old Vincente Vitela passed a Colorado Department of Education background check, despite several complaints filed with the state by Denver Public Schools.

He was a substitute teacher at Lumberg Elementary School in Edgewater in mid-February when he was reported. Authorities arrested him February 25.

FOX 31 has confirmed Vitela was accused of sexual harassment, misconduct, and three sexual assaults on children while working as an assistant principal at Ashley Elementary School in Denver.

Denver Public Schools spokesperson Kathy Armstrong told us, “The Colorado Department of Education was given the proper notification,” about those allegations after Vitela resigned in 2005.

The Colorado Department of Education keeps track of complaints and does background checks on all potential employees before…

View original 190 more words

Teacher Accused Of Sexual Contact Has History Of ‘Incidents’

Source:  CBS4

EDGEWATER, Colo. (CBS4) – A substitute teacher at an Edgewater elementary school has been arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual contact of a student at the school, and CBS4 has learned he has a history of putting children in uncomfortable situations.

Vincente Vitela, 46, was removed from three other schools before the incident in Edgewater. His arrest follows allegations from students at Lumberg Elementary School in Edgewater.

The Jefferson County School District says the previous incidents were not similar in nature to the recent alleged incidents. However, an arrest affidavit says he told stories that made children feel uncomfortable.

CBS4 Newscast Video

Vitela, nicknamed “Mr. V,” has been a substitute teacher in Jefferson County since 2009. Earlier in February while teaching a sixth-grade class at Lumberg Elementary at least three students complained he made them feel uncomfortable by touching them and smelling their hair.

One student said while she was at the white board Vitela put his hands on her shoulders and his front was touching her back. Continue reading

JeffCo School Bus Driver Who Hit Three Students Had DUI Conviction

Source:  CW2

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — There are troubling new allegations about the driver of a bus that struck three students in Jefferson County this week.

FOX31 Denver has learned that 43-year-old David Wayne Shaw has at one least drunken driving conviction on his record.

And that’s raising questions about whether he should have been hired as a school bus driver. Continue reading

JeffCo School Board Violates it own rules on the Censure of Laura Boggs

JeffCo School Board thinks their rules supercede that of the Constitution.

January 6, 2011

Jefferson County, CO:  I never knew that when one became an elected official that they wave their constitutional rights, but according to the rules of the Jefferson County School Board in Colorado, this seems to be the case.

The Board consists of 5 members, one of which comprises the Republican minority.  Since the policies of this board have denied Ms. Boggs the ability of her perform her job as an elected official, her right to free speech, and prevented her from defending herself through media outlets, let me shed some light on a few facts:

I know Ms. Boggs through a local Republican Breakfast Club and through casual conversation and my own digging, this is what I have learned about how this school Board operates:

Continue reading

JeffCo School Board does not put Students First.

TAXPAYERS ISSUE JEFFERSON COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD THEIR REPORT CARD:

JeffCo School Board:  F;

Censured Board Member, Boggs:  A

JANUARY 6, 2011

Jefferson County, CO:    I am a Colorado taxpayer, and I am here to present data that makes it seem as if the Board is not putting the students first in this district.   The data clearly shows that we are failing our students and it is not getting the attention it deserves from this Board.

Let me say, my efforts here are honorable and I intend no disrespect, but I am very disturbed by recent transgressions of this Board.  Make no mistake; it is one of my new mission to educate taxpayers who fund the School District’s budget and salaries, and the parents of these students whom are so recklessly being cheated of a proper education.   These same voters whose voices the school board has attempted to discredit through the censure of a duly elected official, Laura Boggs, for no credible reason other than ideological differences and an agenda, which, quite frankly, does not serve the best interest of the students and taxpayers.

Continue reading