Denver school board marred by "mistrust and fear"
Less than an hour from its start, the tension at a recent day-long Denver school board retreat was palpable.
- "I absolutely feel the energy in this room of mistrust and fear and hesitation," an outside meeting facilitator told members.
Threat level: The board's first six months together have been marred by allegations of verbal abuse and misogyny, fears of a leadership coup and accusations of playing "oppression Olympics," our reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.
Why it matters: The board took the helm with expectations of unity because all the members were endorsed by the Denver teachers union.
- Now community members and supporters are worried the vitriol will thwart goals to improve equity among students — the board members' top campaign issue.
The intrigue: The board, led by new president Xóchitl "Sochi" Gaytán, is struggling with personality conflicts and policy differences.
- It can't even agree on whether members should call each other by their first names in work sessions.
- And when it comes to bigger matters, such as how to gather community input, they are divided and hold events without other members.
What they're saying: "I don't see folks being willing to put their own goals aside to do right by kids," says Nicholas Martinez, co-founder of local advocacy group Transform Education Now.
What's next: The board took a break in July after its contentious June meeting with the facilitator. Its next gathering is a retreat Aug. 8.
More Denver stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Denver.