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DougCo parent sues, claims school board members violated open meeting law

At issue is a private meeting where some board members issued an ultimatum to the superintendent to resign or be fired.

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A parent in the Douglas County School District is suing four newly elected members of the school board alleging that they violated Colorado's open meeting law after disclosing that they met privately to discuss removal of superintendent Corey Wise, who was later fired.

The lawsuit names board president Mike Peterson and fellow board members, Rebecca Myers, Kaylee Winegar and Christy Williams as defendants.

In November, Douglas County's seven-member board underwent a shakeup when more than half of its members were replaced by a group of four conservative candidates. It's the first time conservatives have had control of the board since 2017.

Peterson, Myers, Winegar and Williams all won their seats in November. They ran together on a "Kids First" platform.

On Jan. 31, the three other board members, Elizabeth Hanson, Susan Meek and David Ray -- held a public meeting where they said they were approached privately the week prior with news that the board president and vice president had asked Wise to resign. If he didn't, the three board members were informed that the other four were prepared to replace Wise.

RELATED: Douglas County students walk out after school board fires superintendent

The lawsuit alleges that the Jan. 31 meeting violated that law because no public notice was given about a meeting to discuss the future of the superintendent, which is "public business."

On Feb. 3, hundreds of Douglas County teachers participated in a "sick out" in protest of the action, which prompted all classes to be canceled within the district.

That same afternoon, the board of education called a special meeting for Friday, Feb. 4 to discuss the future of Wise. The lawsuit claims that board member Ray, was not notified of the meeting until after 5 p.m. on Feb. 3 and says that he, Hanson and Meek were never asked about their availability to attend that meeting.

RELATED: Douglas County school board votes to remove superintendent

At the special meeting the board voted 4-3 to fire Wise.

The lawsuit claims the defendants had already presented an ultimatum to Wise privately to Wise and made up their minds that they intended to fire him ahead of the "properly noticed board meeting" which was in violation of the law.

RELATED: Former Jeffco superintendent who felt forced out reacts to Douglas County superintendent firing

When the suit was filed, Wise was still superintendent and the parent who filed it, sought an injunction to stop the board from meeting and firing Wise or discussing his future, however the issue was not taken up by the court until after that meeting had taken place.

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