Harrison School District 2's activist board of education and Superintendent Mike Miles are known for working together to achieve huge reforms. Everyone's in step but Victor Torres, the board's vice president.
Torres thinks the board is out of line on policy changes, and outside the law when it comes to everything from campaign finance to closed-door meetings. He says the records will prove him right, if he ever gets them. After multiple requests, Torres says he still has not received copies of tape-recorded board meetings and executive sessions. Nor, he says, has he been able to review Miles' full personnel file.
"If people had nothing to hide, they would let it all hang out," Torres says, "and they're not."
Colorado Sunshine Law requires copies of open meetings be provided upon request. Executive sessions are not public record, and only parts of personnel files are public. However, Torres cites Colorado Revised Statutes 22-32-103: "Each school director shall have access to all school records at all times."
Harrison spokesperson Jennifer Sprague says Torres can review executive session tapes, but not copy them. She says the district will provide copies of regular board meeting tapes if he asks the board secretary for them. Sprague says Torres has not done that.
Torres claims he's getting the run-around, pointing to his recent attempt to view Miles' file. Torres says a district employee said she couldn't let Torres view the files because Miles wouldn't allow it.
Later, in an e-mail sent to the board attorney and copied to Torres, Miles claimed that by asking for the file, Torres was attempting to "create a hostile working environment."
"Because he attempted to intimidate her and me with a legal reference, his 'request' amounted to a directive — he was trying to get one of the District's employees to do something," Miles' e-mail said. "Mr. Torres is in violation of Board policy B/SR-1, which states that 'the Superintendent is the Board's sole point of connection to the operational District.'"