School Board meets today

Board holds first meeting since release of DeVincentis e-mails

Advertisement

The DeVincentis e-mails

Agenda

Special School Board meeting and workshop with Jim Weigel Agenda

8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Workshop items to discuss:

1. Governance models

2. Policy governance

3. Monitoring reports

4. Communication linkages

5. Goals and results from previous Board of Education

2 p.m.

Special Board meeting

1. Public comments

2. Acceptance of resignation of Pat Gleason

3. Procedure for filling board director vacancy for District 4

4. Formally direct initiation of internal investigation

3:30 p.m.

Reconvene board workshop

4:30 p.m.

Adjourn for evening

— The Steamboat Springs School Board will hold its first meeting today since angry e-mails sent by John DeVincentis became public.

The board meets at 8:30 a.m. today with Jim Weigel, a consultant with the Colorado Association of School Boards, to work on communication and governance. The board also will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. to accept Pat Gleason's resignation from the board, discuss the process for replacing him and launch an internal investigation into how the DeVincentis e-mails were released to the Pilot & Today.

Numerous community leaders have called on DeVincentis to resign his seat on the School Board, including past School Board members, current and former City Council members and former members of Parents for Dr. D, a committee formed to support DeVincentis in public battles with the School Board in 2002. The e-mails, harshly critical of former Superintendent Cyndy Simms, were sent in 2004 and 2005 when DeVincentis was principal of Strawberry Park Elementary.

DeVincentis has apologized for the e-mails but indicated he will not resign. He did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Jim Swiggart, who once chaired the Parents for Dr. D, said the public deserves to know where the School Board stands on DeVincentis. Swiggart said he and others are prepared to initiate a recall effort if DeVincentis does not step down. He said the board should take the lead in seeking his resignation.

"I'm of the opinion we need to see whether the School Board decides to continue to support Dr. D, or if it will ask for his resignation or accept his apology and believe that's sufficient for him to stay on the board," Swiggart said. "The board needs to show leadership by taking a position and letting the community respond to that. It's their responsibility to do that."

Swiggart is not likely to get an answer at today's meeting, said School Board President Denise Connelly. She does not expect any discussion by the board about what action, if any, the board should take in response to the DeVincentis e-mails.

Connelly is expected to direct the board to begin an investigation into how the Steamboat Pilot & Today received copies of the e-mails. The investigation will focus on whether any district policies were violated when someone delivered printed copies of the e-mails to the newspaper.

The board likely will hire an "impartial, unbiased, out-of-town" attorney to investigate where the e-mails came from, and the board will "head up" the investigation, Connelly said.

The School Board also will take public comment during the 2 p.m. meeting in the BOCES board room at the George P. Sauer Human Services Complex on Seventh Street.

As far as Gleason's resignation, the board has 60 days to replace him with another interested community member from Gleason's district, which extends up Elk River Road and into parts of Old Town Steamboat Springs.

Connelly said residents interested in filling the vacancy need to send a letter of interest. The board will prepare information about the new member's responsibilities soon. Several people have stopped by the district's offices to see whether they live in Gleason's district, Connelly said.

"I think there is some interest out there," she said. "I'm confident we'll fill the position."

Connelly said the workshop with Wiegel has been scheduled for months.

The goal of the workshop is to discuss the district's use of policy governance, a policy put in place nine years ago. The policy was designed to help the district run smoothly, but current board members have questions and concerns about how the policy works and if it's right for the district.

"This whole policy governance issue has been very, very controversial," Connelly said. "We cannot continue running the way we are right now. We either need to adapt to the changes the district has gone through or else move to a different governance model."

Weigel said the Steamboat Springs School Board is "not struggling any more or any less" than other boards in the state.

"What I see is a lot of passion, interest and dedication on the part of the board and the community in the district that is being expressed inappropriately," he said. "The ultimate objective of the School Board is to govern well for its students, for its staff. And for the community to get a good district for the taxes it pays. We need to determine what good governance means."

The workshop will continue Friday.

Comments

jeannie berger 7 years, 8 months ago

So todays meeting will focus on who leaked the emails, not on John's behavior (past and present). How sad. Denise, how can you ignore this? It won't go away.

0

bolter 7 years, 8 months ago

Bold leadership! Ignore the gross impropriety of an elected Board member and focus on the real problem--how he got caught.

Maybe Alberto Gonzales will be looking for a job soon, and can be the "impartial, unbiased, out-of-town" attorney to investigate where the e-mails came from. He would understand that Dr. D's ends justify the means.

0

Hammurabi 7 years, 8 months ago

We will now expend more district dollars to divert attention from the fact that the emails show DeVincetis' improper actions and the community's outrage. Smoke screens will and should not make this go away. Are we surprised that yet again this board is showing its inability to manage?

0

Cal2StmBoatGirl 7 years, 8 months ago

Does it really matter who leaked the e-mails? No. That person did a public service. Why waste more taxpayer $ to hire an attorney and launch an investigation?

Dr. D violated policy himself when he used the school computer for his own personal and vindictive purposes.

Lets get real here. Dr. D shouldn't be allowed to shift the focus away from his own improper conduct by this delay tactic.

Recall.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

Too bad Kay Weinland's on vacation...we would probably already have collected enough signatures. Next week, John, next week...

0

another_local 7 years, 8 months ago

Good-bye John and good-bye to any other BOE members that can not understand where thier duty lies.

Perhaps it is too much to assume, but can we expect to see Dr D recuse himself from the discussion (let alone any vote) of this issue in today's meeting? He really should not be there.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

He's never really understood the conflict of interest thing before, why would he now?

0

beentheredonethat 7 years, 8 months ago

start the recall and include connelly and kozatch on the list

0

Kieran O'Halloran 7 years, 8 months ago

Wonderful. Why don't I just come down there and hand you my money. You are going to take it from me anyways. Most be nice being able to spend tax payers money for nonsense. Thanks Steamboat.

0

WZ 7 years, 8 months ago

Oh, most definitely an investigation is needed, and not by a corrupt school system, but by law enforcement.

The simple act of revealing sensitive information in the manner it was, that alone is as disturbing as Dr. D's emails, even more. It's criminal.

Information, good or bad, on school district computers is protected by law. There are protocols to be followed with such information. Printing this information on paper, sealing it an envelope and anonymously hand delivering it to a local news paper is not a protocol.

It's quite obvious there is another "agenda" lurking in the Steamboat school district and beyond. All guilty parties need to be identified and dealt with, otherwise we'll be right back where we were before all this mess started.

I don't think "wasting" money on our children's education is even possible. If anything, the school district should suit those found guilty of breaking the law to recoup investigative and legal expenses.

I also think it's time for a shake up at the top of the Today board and/or another news reporting agency to surface in this town. The Today has certainly lost credibility, and it appears to be headed in a downward spiral.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

What if it weren't an employee? What if a concerned community member asked for them? Under the email policy, they were a matter of public record. Couldn't that person then have done anything they wanted with them?

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

Reallocal- There would be a paper trail of who is requesting that information if someone were asking for the emails. This would also allow that person's identity to be released, I believe. I could be wrong there, though. As for public record, you can't just go up the the desk asking for these emails. I'm pretty sure there's process involved, specifically, "Why" are your needing this information and "What" is the purpose for gathering this information.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

Speaking of board policies, maybe everyone should read here...

http://www.sssd.k12.co.us/Resources/997.pdf

I especially like 2c....If he's done it before, he's doing it now.

I demand an investigation!

0

elphaba 7 years, 8 months ago

We once had a fish that died slowly in the tank by circling and circling before it died. Kind of reminds me of this Board.

0

Scott Stanford 7 years, 8 months ago

Matthew:

Public records belong to the public. There is no reason anyone should ever have to explain why they need a public record in order to obtain it. It is nobody's business what YOU want to do with YOUR records. You should not even have to give your name.

That's one of the big problems with the open records process - people get intimidated by questions such as "who are you" and "why do you want these records." Such questions are inappropriate.

Recordkeepers can ask for you to submit your request in writing and recordkeepers can deny your request if they feel the documents are not public record, opening the door for a possible legal challenge. Recordkeepers also can charge you a nominal fee for making copies and the time spent locating the records. But the public does not need a reason to look at its records.

Just wanted to clarify that.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today editor@teamboatpilot.com

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

Once again, if it was public information, the public has a right to know. If it wasn't someone that can be fired or reprimended, then what? Our district will have spent more taxpayer money to persue another of DeVincentis' agendas, this time against a source who served the community well by bringing John's true nature to light. And the rest of the BOE is going to allow him to keep getting away with it.

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

Scott- Just want to clarify what you are saying: From what I read:

1- Yes, you must submit your name or other information normally and you believe that to be "one of the problems" of making public record requests.

or

2- No, there is no such mechanism in place for requesting public records. Just go in and say "Gimme."

I want to make sure I'm reading your reply properly.

0

Scott Stanford 7 years, 8 months ago

Matthew:

There is no reason you should have to give your name. You can sign your written request "a concerned citizen" and provide a PO Box to have the info sent to. The written request simply provides documentation of exactly what records are being requested.

Obviously, it might help to provide your name and contact info for communication purposes, but there is no legal requirement to do so and an agency can't make you do so as a condition of getting access to public records. You don't have to say who you are and you don't have to say why you need them... Option 2 is closer to the law than anything else - go in and say give me. The recordkeeper works for you to maintain your records. Why shouldn't you be able to say "gimme?"

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today editor@teamboatpilot.com

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

Scott- That's what I'm looking for. Thank you!

On that note, I'll still go back to my hatred of anonymity when dealing in matters such as this. That's why I'm not anonymous on this site. You know it ME saying what I say. I've always thought it was a coward's way out of anything. If you can't take the criticism for what you, don't do it. Let someone with the backbone to stand up for their actions do it. Kind of the way people are asking Dr. D to take responsibility for his emails and resign.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

That is pretty admirable to not be anonoymous on here, Matt. I have the feeling that if there weren't very real threats of retribuation a lot more of us would be doing the same.

0

Mark_Louden 7 years, 8 months ago

Amen, Scott. Keep up the good fight on public records.

0

steamboatsconscience 7 years, 8 months ago

and the reason that there is the threat of retribution is that there a number of aggressive, self righteous and vitriolic personalities hiding behind anonymous monikers here ( davinci and her other aliases comes to mind), who cant stand it when their narrow minded views are questioned by others. "Before you go on a journey of revenge, dig two graves" Confucius

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

You mean the kind of retribution that Dr. D is facing because someone outted his 2-3 year old emails because he didn't have the backbone to say them in public from the get-go? What happens when people get outted on this site that frightens so many people into remaining anonymous? Are people that afraid of showing their true selves to others? I thought this was a "community" matter that's being discussed...in secret... by anonymous people. That goes contrary to the definition of community, in my mind.

Even more, Reallocal- how do we know Cyndi Simms isn't posting on this thread or was the one who requested the emails? That would make it this just as much a personal vendetta on her part, if it were. In fact, how many of the posts against or even for Dr. D were all aliases of 1 or 2 people wanting to sound like a mob? That's the problem with anonymity: you can't verify intent.

Sure, that's all conspiracy theory in action, but can you say you know the each poster on this site? We already know that there are many that post here and don't live here, and we've already uncovered certain people with multiple handles on this site.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

Matt, I have personally recieved a threat delivered via the personal contact option of this site. I don't think that this person has any idea in reality who I am, but there was an anonoymous account registered for specifically this reason. I hope someone does not get hurt because of my actions, and considering this, I have considered revealing my identity also, except that would make me a certain target. I have also noticed many many people responding and apologizing from different usernames-the postings under Pat Gleason's resignation letter come to mind-and I agree that the mob mentality is almost certainly a dangerous trap to independant thinking when identities cannot be revealed.

0

ElBorracho 7 years, 8 months ago

WZ -- If a record is public, as the e-mails are, whoever asked for them didn't have to say why/who/for what purpose, s/he just needed to be smart enough to know what to ask for. And that person can do anything they want with those PUBLIC records once in their possession. They could post them on the bulletin board at City Market, read them to friends, or drop them off anonymously at the newspaper. Your protocol argument is a strawman. Good job to the Pilot for following this story!

0

Hammurabi 7 years, 8 months ago

Brings to mind Karen Silkwood and Richard Nixon. Two people on either side of the issue....even before e-mail. Whistleblower laws are in place to protect people from this situation. That's why the paper took so much time to authenticate this story. Once again, why are we pursuring the source of the emails rather than the content? Isn't anyone interested as to why this meeting to hire counsel was hastily called for today at 2:00pm when most members of the community will be unable to attend?

0

jlkar 7 years, 8 months ago

Dr. D's emails are equivilent of note-passing from the days of middle school. I agree with people that comment on the fact that these tasteless things are said daily by all walks of folks in this town. As adults, we are expected to let these things roll off our shoulders and hold our heads up high, don't we have more important things to think about then what Dr. D thinks of Cyndy Simms- man, I hope so. Isn't that what we teach our kids? When so-and-so calls little Billy an idiot, don't we say to ignore it? So, let us rise above this childish behavior and show our children that Steamboat doesn't stand for petty name calling; and that involving lawyers and tax dollars destined for MUCH better use will not solve the town's problems. Clearly, no matter which way you spin it, the school board needs to get some fresh blood in there that doesn't hold biases born decades ago, I believe it is called a 'clean slate'. Lets put our tax dollars towards those reusable lunch trays and support whats real in this community, our children, who could care less about immature emails and immature people that release key phrases that probably made all of us dumber just by reading them. "Wet sloppy kisses"- gross me out the door- didn't we all just argue about Coulter's inappropriate vocabulary... is this a tabloid or a newspaper? Steamboat, grow up.

0

workingman 7 years, 8 months ago

It doesnt' look like "Dr. D" is sincere at all about his apology as one of the first acts of the board is to investigate into who told on him. Clearly he is only sorry he got caught.

0

autumnwitch 7 years, 8 months ago

The "agenda" here, is this: When John ran for school board many of us knew his past, and I am assuming, tried to dissuade their friends and family from voting for him knowing that he had a hidden agenda. However, there were more people who thought he was wonderful from having so much wool pulled over their eyes for so many years. I will admit that if I had not seen the dark side, I too would have thought he was great. Whether the e-mails had been in the hands of anonymous all this time or not, doesn't really matter. This person saw that John was trying to pull the same bull that he did with Cyndy on Donna and had to show the public that the person he was pretending to be was going by the wayside. (As it eventually always does with him) There it is.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

jikar-I would like to believe that any responsible parents of "Little Billy" would have taught him to think not to let it "roll off his shoulders" but also to think of why he is supposed to be where he is now. Popularity is not everything, sorry to say. I was "Little Billy"(-ette (not so sure of the grammar on that piece of work)), but I can assure you that none of my teachers ever stood up for me, either to their peers nor mine. Devincentis never did either. Many of his supporters may deem this an agenda. So call it that. The fact remains that he still never helped me out, because is was easier and more gratifying to his ego to make "nice" of my education. Maybe, just maybe, agendas can have a less negative connotation than what John D. has allowed the BOE's own agenda to become. Otherwise we wouldn't be pushing an unprovable, inadequate, and ultimately inconsequential internal investigation on the employees we all agree are already not compensated enough for provding a FAIR, EQUAL, EDUCATED, and, most importantly, MORAL example to our children. Way to go Denise. Let him get away with it again. After he is recalled, I fully plan on suing DeVincentis and yourself for the public funds compromised due to your inadequacy as BOE members, based on the grounds that I have paid your salary for far too long.

By the way 123inou, I have reported you to the police, and you'd better be racing to delete your email. Have a pleasant rest of the night's sleep. I haven't for 3 days.

0

steamboatsconscience 7 years, 8 months ago

reallocal Seriously, posting from 8 AM to 4 AM the next day? What are you doing, hitting the refresh button every 5 seconds so you can attack anyone who disagrees with you or high five anyone who agrees with you? Just what exactly is your agenda concerning this? It seems very personal to you. Are you the anonymous source of the e mails? Are you any better or MORAL (your word) than those that you attack in your previous post? Are you so wrapped up in your self righteousness that you are causing yourself emotional harm? Why is it so important to you? You cant have it both ways, calling others hypocrites while having your own personal agenda. I will reiterate: " When going on a journey of revenge, dig two graves" Confucius If you want my opinion on this, I think the entire Board should resign. Too many egos there. Let the Principals run the schools, they seem to be the only ones who care about the needs of our children. Are you going to sue me too?

0

WZ 7 years, 8 months ago

Hey, great! That easy then, eh?!

Then I will be demanding copies of all my hard drives including all of my emails.

Just think of all the virtual juice I will have access to.

And I'm not talking about who said who about who said what. I'm talking about snippets into the private lives of people like Scott, reallocal, autumnwitch, Kielbasa, et. al.

I'm a bit confused as to why I have to use the sneaker net to obtain my electronic information. Why is my information so inaccessible and antiquated.

See you in court, Scott!

0

Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

WZ- My life's already an open book and comic at that (I collect comic books- inside joke), and most of it isn't online except for the porn and the emails where I trash talk people I despise...oooooo, that's going to come back to haunt me in 2 to 3 years when I run and win a place on Board of Education.

0

reallocal 7 years, 8 months ago

Conscience-I agree with your opinion. I have allowed myself to become involved in this. Because I care about what happens. This is an issue central to our district. For the record, no, I am not the source of these emails, but I wish I were. DeVincentis has been bullying this district long enough, and these emails only serve to rile the public to do what they should have done regardless of their release-recall DeVincentis for wasting taxpayer money, being insensative to his constituants' wishes, and irreparably damaging the district's reputation with superintendants, staff, parents, community members, and ultimately the students they were elected to serve. Revenge is not the issue here, I am simply one of the more vocal people opposed to keeping DeVincentis on the board. He is damaging our district, and he needs to be removed. I'm sorry if my posting is offensive to you, but my emotional wellbeing is just fine, thank you for your concern. Politics make strange bedfellows, huh?

0

steamboatsconscience 7 years, 8 months ago

reallocal the real point I want to make in all of this is that politics has no place where the welfare of our (and I have 2 children in the school system) children's welfare and education are concerned. Its pretty obvious that this Board is dysfunctional with members who are so entrenched in the system that they cant see the forest for the trees. There duty is to do what is best for our children, but that seems to have been set aside as they all trip over their egos. I also think that all the skeletons have not been found yet, and they won't be in John's closet. I still say lets wipe the slate clean and find people to manage our schools whose only agenda is the well being of the students. I also feel that this small of a school district does not need a superintendent, which only adds another ego to the mix. A capable Board is all we need. On a personal level reallocal, your posts dont offend me, but you can only beat people over the head with your opinion until it does the opposite of what you are trying to convey. We all get it. Please, take the weekend off, get a little sleep, maybe even find a Don Imus blog to post on. Who knows, come Monday maybe both our dreams will come true!

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.