A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. And that is exactly what the Adams County School District #14 School Board did to its President Jeannette Lewis on Tuesday, October 12, 2011.
Board member Adrian Schimpf, after stating this is a “Dark Day” in Adams #14, rattled off numerous occasions regarding President Lewis’s behavior that he felt left a sense of distrust and disunity.
Board member Robert Vashaw was saddened by the topic and felt he lost a friendship to Mrs. Lewis in this matter. Vashaw was also up for a censure for releasing information from the district’s attorney to a school board candidate. Vashaw did apologize for his actions. After reconsidering, the entire board felt that Vashaw’s actions did not warrant a censure.
Board member and current board candidate Bill Klocker stated it was a two way street but would keep an open mind about the ordeal.
Larry Quintana made this statement:
“We have on a number of occasions heard this statement from this Dias. “Today is a dark day for Adams County School District 14”. Every time this statement was made the finger was pointed at the Board of Education member who voted the conscientious of their constitutions and opposite to the chair of this Board. Well tonight is truly a dark day for Adams 14 because for the first time in my recollection we will be voting on the censure of a member of the D14 Board of education. However, this vote may turn out to be the one true action that constitute a dark day for our district.
You have already heard a number of reasons for taking this step for this action by another member of the Board. I personally have in my office a folder of recorded information outlining the deed(s) over the past 6 years of the chair’s actions.
While the chair may boast of her adherence to following the letter of state statute, district policy or Robert’s Rules, she has failed to demonstrate the compassion it takes when you are intrusted with the live and education of our community to also seek the spirit of the law, a spirit that begins with a true love for its people who are struggling to perform what seems at times to be an impossible task.
I for one and I believe many in our community would consider ourselves blessed if we had the intellectual ability of the chair of this board, however we are not governed by intellect alone as we in the human race are also guided by a spirit and a heart that demonstrates a compassion for the struggles of those less fortunate than ourselves. It was for this reason that our Creator who made us in His image provided us not only with a body, a mind, but yes a spirit that is the center or our relationship to our fellow man or women.
Reconciliation with any board member was impossible with the chair once you have been targeted by the chair, unless it was on her terms and her terms only.
In the words of the chair several weeks ago what I must do this evening I do it because as an elected official of this community I must perform the task of my position on this Board and vote to censure the President of the Adams 14 Board of Education, I will vote yes on this motion.”
Video from June of 2009 - Adams #14 Board member Larry Quintana speaks about concerns of Board President Jeanette Lewis...
The board voted in favor of censure with a vote of 4 to 1, with Lewis being the vote against her own censure. It was stated that this would send a message to future Adams #14 school boards as to what actions they should take when “enough is enough”. It was reported to the Gateway News that this censure of Jeanette Lewis is the first and only time that any elected official in the history of Commerce City has been censured.
Copy of policy that has been violated by Jeanette Lewis repeatedly during her eight year tenure on the Adams 14 Board of Education is below...
Public Relations and Communications
The Board of Education believes it is the responsibility of each Board member, as well as each employee of the District, to actively pursue a two-way communications program that highlights the educational experiences in the District's public schools and promotes effective partnerships.
The Board recognizes that citizens have a right to know what is occurring in their public school system; that Board members and all school administrators have an obligation to see that all publics are kept systematically and adequately informed; and that the District will benefit from seeing that citizens get all information, good and bad, directly from the system itself.
The Board affirms the following objectives:
To maintain an effective two-way communication system between the District and its various publics which ensures:
1. Dissemination of accurate, timely information about school policies, programs, procedures, achievements, decisions, critical issues;
2. Interpretation of decisions and action;
3. Elimination of rumors and misinformation;
4. Programs and practices designed to provide an open climate which will elicit ideas, suggestions, reactions from the community and employees alike;
5. An effective working relationship with the news media.
To maintain a Public Information Office to coordinate the District's communication efforts;
To develop and maintain an organizational environment where all District staff members are aware that they share the responsibility for communication of school policies, programs and activities to students, parents, staff and the community;
To maintain a written plan of communication policies and guidelines;
The Board of Education believes it is essential to the development of excellence in the education of students that the maximum possible knowledge about the goals, achievements, activities and operations of the District be conveyed to the students, parents, staff and community.
The Board therefore reaffirms its commitment to openness in relationships with its stakeholders. The Board further believes that the community, as well as the staff and students, should be consulted and involved in the problem-solving and decision-making processes of the District.