DENVER (KDVR) — Public safety has been a key concern for students, parents and community members alike following several shooting incidents taking place at East High School in recent months.
Monday, Denver City Council members hoped to have their concerns and questions addressed by Denver Public Schools Superintendent Alex Marrero, but that didn’t happen.
Some members of the city council said they have waited for years for the council and the school board to rekindle their relationship. The DPS superintendent dashed some of those hopes Monday when he did not show up for their joint meeting.
“I have been working in government for 11 years with the city council and I cannot remember the last time we sat down and attempted to convene with the superintendent of Denver Public Schools and the superintendent doesn’t show — it shows me a lot,” said Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, representing District 1 in Denver.
Denver City Council members were disheartened and outraged after they scheduled a special meeting with Marrero, but Marrero did not come. Members said they realized he would not be in attendance only at the start of Monday’s noon meeting saying they heard Marrero would not be in the room after he realized Denver Mayor Michael Hancock would not be in the room.
“I think it was disappointing to every council member at the table that Dr. Marrero himself was not in attendance, and to be told that it was because the mayor wasn’t here is just frankly insulting,” said Denver City Council President Jamie Torres.
Long-time council members said the council used to meet with DPS regularly for discussion but they said that has not happened in at least eight years — the last two terms of the Hancock administration.
“I cleared my schedule in order to be here today, this was very last minute for me as well,” said DPS Vice President Auon’tai Anderson.
Though Marrero was not there, Anderson was on hand to answer questions about the district’s long-term safety plan that will be presented and discussed Monday night.
Anderson said he did not have to come but he saw the meeting as an opportunity to engage in dialogue.
“The superintendent made a decision after hearing back from other individuals that this should really be a conversation and a dialogue between the elected bodies and Dr. Marrero is not an elected official. Dr. Marrero is an employee of the board of education,” Anderson said.
Though Hancock was not in attendance, his director of regional affairs was there. He said the mayor wanted there to be an opportunity for the school board and council members to engage freely.