WR Supt. defends board in letter

By Alastair Lee Bitsoi
Navajo Times

FORT DEFIANCE, Dec. 5, 2013

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Parents leading the charge to recall four members of the Window Rock Unified School District's Board of Education are overlooking the progress the district has made under the current leadership, and blaming it for a financial shortfall that was beyond its control, Superintendent Deborah Jackson-Dennison wrote last week in a three-page letter to the Navajo Times.

A special election set for March 11 will determine the fate of the four school board members. After an inquiry from the Times, Jackson-Dennison turned in the letter as her response to the recall effort by the Parents for Action, Change and Accountability Committee, but she emphasized that she is limited in what she can say.

"As Superintendent of Window Rock Unified School District, I must comply with A.R.S. 15-511 and provide you answers that are objective in nature and based on factual information," Dennison wrote in the three-page letter dated Nov. 26. "Therefore, in keeping in compliance with A.R.S. 15-511, I provide to you my perspective on the status of our district in relation to the recall of 4 of the 5 board members."

Arizona Revised Statute 15-511 prohibits school districts from using district funds to influence the outcome of elections.

March 11 special recall election

Last week on Nov. 25, David L. Giddings, chief deputy for Apache County Schools, confirmed that the county had granted the special recall election to citizens living within the boundaries of WRUSD. Emily Arviso, Albert Deschine, Lorraine Nelson and Richard Showalter are WRUSD board members up for recall during the March 11 special election.

The March 11 special election comes after the PACA Committee, led by parent Marcus Tulley, filed a petition with the Apache County Superintendent of Schools in September to hold a recall election for Arviso, Deschine, Nelson and Showalter for their "unwavering support" of Dennison when it came to the district's recent fiscal debacle and restructuring, among other reasons.

Arviso, Nelson and Showalter voted in favor of a restructure plan known as Plan E+ that closed and consolidated schools within the district, while Deschine and Marty Bowman, who isn't being considered for recall, voted against it.

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