The Jefferson County, Colorado, school district found that a charter school in the county broke district policy by sending an email to parents with information about the upcoming recall election and the board’s past support for charter schools.
Three conservative members of the Jefferson County school board face recall elections in November after parents were concerned about the members’ proposals on school choice and efforts to ensure the AP U.S. History course emphasized the “positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”
The president of the board at Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen, Alan Scheik, sent a letter to parents urging them to vote in the recall election, noting that the “current JeffCo board two years ago favored school choice and charter schools” by raising funding for charter schools,” according to Chalkbeat Colorado.
“Three of the current board members that voted in favor of additional charter school funding to balance out revenue are being recalled and we may be at risk of losing the additional funding we now have in place which could cause setbacks for our financial stability,” Scheik wrote.
He did not encourage parents to vote against recalling the three members, but Craig Hess, the attorney for Jeffco Public Schools said that the email violated the district’s policy that prohibits schools from using official communication that “expresses support for or opposition to” a candidate, according to Chalkbeat Colorado.
Roberta Harrell, the school’s director, defended the email Scheik sent, noting that it did not specify support for a specific candidate.
“We just want to make sure our parents are educated,” she said, according to Chalkbeat Colorado. “That’s the way I read it. And I know that was Mr. Scheik’s intention.”
But Hess told Chalkbeat Colorado that he felt the email “provided electoral support for the three existing board of education members.” He did not specify how the Rocky Mountain Academy would be reprimanded for violating the policy.
Wendy McCord, a JeffCo parent who helped found JeffCo United For Action, the group that launched the recall campaign, filed a complaint about the email to the district.