Durango School Watch

Holding our school board accountable
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Voters in the Durango 9-R school district should be aware of illegal conduct that has resulted in the unwarranted cancellation of the District D Election. As outlined below, Ms. Andrea Parmenter served on the board and voted at board meetings when she did not live in the district she claimed to represent, in violation of Colorado law.

Brand new evidence corroborates that Andrea Parmenter moved into District E in May of 2021.  By her own admission in this text message (submitted to Durango School Watch) dated May 14, 2021, Andrea Parmenter shows pictures of her new driveway, and says this his her “new home”.

To make matters worse, the Durango 9-R school board did not take reasonable steps ensure that board members like Andrea Parmenter were eligible to serve, and it therefore improperly cancelled the District D election.

Lastly, Andrea Parmenter failed to submit enough valid signatures to be a candidate for school board in District E, which is apparently where she now lives.

Please educate yourselves for the sake of our future generations’ education!

Get the facts.

ANDREA PARMENTER VIOLATED COLORADO LAW

As outlined below, Ms. Andrea Parmenter served on the Durango 9-R school board and voted at board meetings when she did not live in the district she claimed to represent, in violation of Colorado law. To make matters worse, the Durango school board did not take reasonable steps to ensure that its board members were eligible to serve, and it therefore improperly cancelled the District D election. Lastly, Parmenter failed to submit enough valid signatures to be a candidate for school board in District E, which is apparently where she now lives.

1. Ms. Parmenter illegally served as the Durango 9-R District D Board Director because she did not live in the district.

Durango School District 9-R has adopted a district director plan of representation, and under Colorado law a school board member must live in the district he or she represents. But Parmenter served as the District D representative, while she knew that she did not live in District D. And she illegally continued to attend board meetings and vote on school district matters.

Publicly available information shows that Parmenter moved out of District D as early as May, 2021. Specifically:

Despite Parmenter’s illegal holdover for the District D position, as of May 2021 the seat for District D was vacant by operation of law. Under C.R.S. § 22-31-129(1)(d), “A school district office shall be deemed to be vacant . . . if the director is or becomes during the term of office a nonresident of the director district which the director represents.” A vacancy does not require a resignation, nor does it require a change in voter registration. Unfortunately, the school board did not take reasonable steps to follow the law, and Parmenter refused to openly and honestly inform the school board that she had moved out of District D.

Parmenter not only illegally remained in office, but she also illegally voted at board meetings on June 8, June 22, August 10, August 12 and September 7, 2021. Even after she changed her voter registration on August 19, 2021, Parmenter continued to attend and vote at meetings until September 7, 2021. And when the school board decided to declare a vacancy (after Parmenter’s change in registration), the board still allowed Parmenter to cast a vote at the September 7, 2021 meeting and then declared her “not present” for the remainder of the meeting.

In short Parmenter violated her oath of office. Publicly available USPS data shows that she moved out of the district in May 2021, and she publicly admitted that the no longer lived in the district on August 9, 2021, (when she circulated a candidate petition listing a District E address as her residence). The Board should have promptly declared a vacancy in May, 2021, publicly announced that Parmenter was no longer a board member (and no longer eligible to seek election in District D), and held an election for District D director.

2. The Board should have declared a vacancy in May and held a District D election.

Parmenter’s dishonesty is bad. Worse is that citizens in District D lost their right to vote for a replacement, because the School Board cancelled the election. Because a vacancy occurred in May — well outside of 90 days before the November 2nd election — the Board should have announced the vacancy to the public and held an election. This would have allowed interested candidates an opportunity to run for an open seat, and it would have given voters meaningful choices. Indeed, the number of vacancy applications after the Board cancelled the election shows that there was substantial interest in an open seat. Elections matter, and people deserve a right to vote for their school board members. Instead, the Board decided it would be best to fill the District D’s seat by appointment.

In my view, it seems that Parmenter intended to game the system by refusing to openly and honestly announce her new residence. If a vacancy takes place 90 days before an election, the board may appoint a new member, rather than hold an election. And it seems that Parmenter acted with deliberate precision, to short-circuit an election. She started collecting signatures under her new address on August 9th and changed her registration on August 19th — 85 and 75 days before the election, and just barely inside the 90 window.

The Board should not reward Parmenter’s concealment of her change of residency. The Board should recognize that the vacancy occurred in May, and it should hold a special election to remedy its cancellation of this November’s election.

3. By failing to review Parmenter’s candidate petition, the Board gave Ms. Parmenter preferential treatment, so she could run for office.

After Ms. Parmenter decided to run for District E, she submitted a petition that, on its face, did not have enough signatures. Specifically, Ms. Parmenter submitted 72 signatures. One of her petition sections, containing 22 signatures, had a circulator affidavit that was not completed properly, and a cursory review of that affidavit would have invalidated those 22 signatures. On top of that, at least two additional signatures were signed by people outside of the school district on another petition, and another nine signatures should have been invalidated for other reasons. At most, Ms. Parmenter obtained 48 (and likely only 39) valid voter signatures on her candidate petitions, short of the 50 signatures required. The Designated Election Official should issue a certificate of insufficiency, and Parmenter should not be allowed to run for office in District E.

4. The Board should hold a special election and refuse to certify Parmenter’s petitions.

Fortunately, the Board has an opportunity to fix these problems.

First, it should hold a special election to elect a board member for District D. The Board should have held an election for that seat in the first place, and the citizens of District D deserve to vote for their school board representative.

Second, the Designated Election Official did not properly review signatures, and she never issued a certificate of sufficiency or insufficiency for Parameter’s petitions, as required by Colorado law. The DEO should immediately issue a certificate of insufficiency, because Parmenter did not collect enough signatures to qualify as a candidate for District E.

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