Cripple Creek/Victor School Board members Dennis Jones Tim Braun
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Cripple Creek/Victor School Board members Dennis Jones, left, and Tim Braun are the subject of a recall petition.

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A group dissatisfied with how three Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 board members are doing their jobs has succeeded in collecting 400 signatures per incumbent to trigger a recall election.

The Teller County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has verified that the signatures of active registered voters the recall committee submitted were sufficient to move the process to the next step, said Stephanie Kees, Teller County’s chief deputy clerk.

Board President Tim Braun, Treasurer Dennis Jones and Secretary Tonya Martin have until May 2 to protest to Teller County Clerk Krystal Brown, the designated election official.

The three board members are being targeted for what petitioners claim are “multiple violations of Colorado state statutes, school board policies and resolutions, Sunshine laws and the Colorado Open Records Act,” according to Patty Waddle, a former district employee who’s leading the effort.

Protests must be made in writing and under oath for grounds that include “petition circulators substantially misleading” people who signed the petition, according to state law. Hearings would then be held to determine whether the protests have merit.

When petitioners initially did not collect enough needed signatures and were back on the streets to meet a second deadline, Jones told The Gazette that he planned to protest, saying the group’s claims were false and unproven.

Waddle started the recall movement in January. She had lost a bid for Jones’ seat on the board in November 2017. She also had been placed on paid administrative leave for a personnel investigation, after announcing her retirement from her job as Head Start director.

“My concern is that people have been signing these petitions, which contain complete falsehoods, without knowing the truth,” Jones said. “People are being duped. This has nothing to do with kids and everything to do with a personal vendetta.”

Waddle has filed complaints about poor test scores; claims of missing checks (which board members said were verified as not missing by an auditor); board disrespect of community members; and overcharging for open records requests.

She told The Gazette earlier this year that she has proof of her accusations and believes it’s time for an overhaul of the five-member board to help the district improve.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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