Saturday is the last day for signatures on petitions to recall three Jeffco School Board members, according to representatives from Jeffco United for Action, the group spearheading the recall effort. The petitions need 15,000 signatures each in order to move forward with putting the recall issue on the ballot.
“We are very confident in our signature gathering efforts,” said Lynea Hansen, a spokesperson for Jeffco United. “We will finish collecting petitions from our more than 1,000 volunteers Saturday and we are looking to turn in petitions in the coming week.”
The effort seeks to recall Jeffco School Board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams, who were elected in November 2013. Recall supporters cite poor financial management of taxpayer dollars, allege violations of the state’s open meeting laws, and point to attempts to censor an Advanced Placement U. S. History class along with refusals to fund free full-day kindergarten to improve student achievement for Jeffco’s at-risk students in their decision to pursue a recall.
On Wednesday, Jeffco United for Action sponsored a “Drive the Blvd. & Sign” event on Wednesday along Jeffco’s Wadsworth Boulevard. Volunteers waved signs at eleven intersections along the north-south artery and had petitions ready for voters to stop and sign on their way home. They are now asking those volunteers to turn in those petitions on Saturday afternoon so they can move the process forward.
The group began collecting signatures on July 8 through a network of volunteers. “Drive and sign locations” were set up throughout the county to make it easy for supporters to sign the petitions. Organizers have until early September to turn in signatures, but are turning them in weeks earlier so that the question can be included on the November ballot. The move could save Jeffco taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Recall opponents are also mobilizing and plan to fan out across the county this Saturday as well. The conservative organization Americans for Prosperity, funded by the Koch Brothers, announced that their representatives will knock on doors in Jeffco from 10 am to 3 pm on July 25 to share why they support the board majority.
According to the event announcement, AFP volunteers will also canvas homes in Douglas County and in the Thompson School District where conservative majorities also control the local school boards. Their announcement suggests the national organization plans to keep a close eye on Jeffco where all five school board seats could be on the ballot this November.