The president and vice president of Douglas County’s school board told former superintendent Corey Wise that if he did not resign within a matter of days, the board’s newly-elected members would fire him for cause, according to an audio recording of the Jan. 28 meeting.
The audio was filed in district court Wednesday as part of the lawsuit Highlands Ranch resident Robert Marshall filed against the Board of Education, alleging the four majority members on the school board decided to replace Wise after holding a series of private one-on-one discussions that violated the state’s open records law. Mike Peterson and Christy Williams “communicated that decision” to Wise during the January meeting, the latest documents filed in the case allege.
“We don’t want to make this horrible, we don’t want to make this super public but we are prepared to do that if that’s the direction in which it has to go,” said Williams, vice president of the board, can be heard telling Wise in the recording.
Earlier this year, three members of the school board — Susan Meek, Elizabeth Hanson and David Ray — held a hastily-scheduled public meeting in which they said Williams and board president Peterson had issued an ultimatum to Wise to resign or be voted out. They alleged that in doing so their colleagues — who they have repeatedly clashed with over district policies — violated the state’s open meeting law.
Four days later, Wise was fired without cause in a contentious public meeting that drew national attention and sparked student protests at multiple Douglas County School District schools. The vote was led by the four conservative members — Peterson, Williams, Becky Myers and Kaylee Winegar — who gained the board’s majority following last year’s election.