Brighton Collegiate board resigns

By Staff
Posted 2/9/10

    BRIGHTON – The board of directors at Brighton Collegiate High School passed and signed off on a resolution Wednesday night, effectively handing the keys for the operation of …

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Brighton Collegiate board resigns


    BRIGHTON – The board of directors at Brighton Collegiate High School passed and signed off on a resolution Wednesday night, effectively handing the keys for the operation of the school over to Brighton School District 27J.

     According to the resolution, the school will remain in Collegiate's hands until an effective date of March 31. And while that date may be up for negotiation in the coming weeks, ultimately, the charter school will no longer be run by a governing board independent of the public school district.

After a brief executive session, called for discussion of "contract negotiations," the BCHS board reconvened and immediately and quickly passed its final piece of government.

The resolution calls for BCHS board President Ursula Sagehorn or her designee, "to enter into discussions with School District 27J to effectuate the orderly and efficient winding down of the affairs of Brighton Collegiate High School."

The board has no plans for any future meetings as a whole. Sagehorn did send a lengthy letter to 27J superintendent Rod Blunck explaining the board's decision to step down. 

Board Letter

The decision to disband was not unanimous. Long-time board member Ken Mitchell voted against the resolution. He was joined by fellow board member Lollie Sandoval in not signing the agreement. Sandoval did, however, vote for the passage of the resolution. She stated she voted with the board as a motion of solidarity and to show her ongoing support for the betterment of the school community. She was not, however, pleased with the outcome and the means it was reached.

The emergency meeting Wednesday was the third such meeting in a week's time. The previous two meetings were apparently held to discuss the same decision but those discussions were also held under the classification of "contract negotiations."

The dissolution of the board and the school's administrative leadership leaves the troubled BCHS with a host of questions from bond commitment and payment obligations, teacher contracts and ongoing

employment to the very future of the school.

In the hours leading up to the emergency meeting, legal counsel from BCHS and the district had parlayed an agreement that was to turn over governing management of the school immediately. While it was not disclosed

why the future date was set, board members said the final resolution and dates were penned by board member David Gill.

Read more in the Brighton Standard Blade in the Wednesday, Feb. 10 edition.

   School District 27J has been in charge of the school since November after the district’s board of education voted to take over BCHS. A lawsuit by the BCHS board to regain control of the school was thrown out of Adams County District Court in November, and a professional mediator vetted 27J’s decision Mediator sides with 27J last week.

   The Adams County District Attorney’s office announced last week it would file a second-degree misdemeanor child abuse charge against former Brighton Collegiate teacher David Lange. Teacher faces charge The decision capped a lengthy investigation by Brighton police into allegations that Lange, 39, had an inappropriate relationship with a female 14-year-old BCHS student.

    Preliminary findings by Brighton police included alleged inappropriate text messaging, non-intimate touching of the knee and waist of the student, a kiss and a meeting at a movie theater. The inappropriate text messaging, according to the report, allegedly included the teacher describing the student’s physical appearance and scent as “arousing.”

    The incident prompted School District 27 to seize temporary management of the school. Officials alleged Salmela, at the direction of Brighton Collegiate board vice-president David Gill refused to share information with 27J officials regarding the latest incident. BCHS board members denied those allegations and said they only stipulated that the school’s legal counsel be present for any interviews with the district’s attorney.

    BCHS board members have been adamant that the teacher’s actions were grounds for immediate termination in line with their “zero-tolerance” policy but that they did not believe the incident was sexual in nature.

    Conviction on a class 2 misdemeanor can carry a jail term of three months to a year and/or a fine of $250 to $1,000. Lange’s court date is set for March 4.

Board Letter">Board Letter




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