On July 11th, after almost a year of legal wrangling, a Broomfield judge declared that the Adams 12 Board of Education seat held by Rico Figueroa was vacant as Figueroa had not legally been elected. The judge’s order contained strong words regarding Figueroa’s character and actions.
“Figueroa was a member of the board that reviewed and approved the new boundaries of his district. The board of education had effectively redistricted a known opponent out of the district he (Figueroa) served. He certainly cannot claim surprise regarding the boundaries of his district or Speers’ eligibility to serve (Figueroa v. Speers 8).”
“Moreover, in this case, the votes were counted and Figueroa was defeated by a nearly two-to-one margin. The Court finds as a matter of fact and concludes as a matter of law that he was not legally elected to the office. The voters in his district expressed a clear intent not to elect him. To find that he was “legally elected” under the circumstances of this case where he slept on his rights, failed to take any pre-election action and permitted the people of his district to demonstrate their overwhelming disapproval of his performance would undermine the integrity of the election (Figueroa v. Speers 10).”
However, there are rumors that Rico Figueroa is too well connected to fail. The board can, after all, simply turn around and appoint Figueroa. That is how he became a school board member in the first place. There are rumors that, across the state, in places like Douglas County, Adams 12, and Jeffco board members are set up to be shills for the Koch brothers and the Independence Institute, that their goals are not to support public education, but to dismantle it.
I am writing to ask that you, as the Adams 12 school board, put those rumors to rest by appointing a member who will contribute positively to the fledgling spirit of collaboration that we are beginning to rebuild in our district. The work we need to do for kids puts us all on the same side, and it is hard work that no single answer or philosophy will sustain.
Figueroa is too tainted a candidate to engender our trust. No one can prove when Figueroa understood the implications of the redistricting, but in elected office, even the appearance of this level of impropriety destroys his credibility. Figueroa has often claimed to value character, community relations, and fiscal responsibility. When those values were tested, rather than do the ethical thing and step down from a board seat to which he was very clearly not elected, he chose to put the district through the expense of a legal battle despite the community’s “overwhelming disapproval of his performance.”
As I said when the board came to our teacher’s association meeting, you have great power. You control our resources. Please use that power wisely, so that together, we can meet the great challenges that daily confront public education.
Adams 12 teacher, graduate & parent