Douglas County school board members Becky Myers, Mike Peterson and Christy Williams leave a Douglas County courtroom on June 12 with their attorney Geoff Blue. The school board members are facing allegations they violated open meetings law when they fired former Superintendent Corey Wise. (McKenna Harford, Colorado Community Media)

This story first appeared in a Colorado Community Media newspaper. Support CCM’s neighborhood news. The Colorado Sun is an owner of CCM.

A Douglas County judge ruled four school board members violated Colorado Open Meetings Law when they had a series of one-on-one conversations about terminating former Superintendent Corey Wise.

In a ruling issued Friday, Douglas County District Court Judge Jeffrey Holmes reaffirmed that Douglas County Board President Mike Peterson and board members Christy Williams, Becky Myers, and Kaylee Winegar broke open meetings law by discussing firing Wise in non-public conversations last year.

State Rep. Bob Marshall, D-Highlands Ranch, filed a lawsuit against the district in February 2022, with his attorney, Steve Zansberg, arguing that firing a superintendent is a public business subject to open meetings law. 

In a statement, Marshall said he is glad Holmes reconfirmed his prior ruling, however, he still issued an ultimatum.

“I call upon the board, and the individual directors to announce, publicly, that they will comply, or I will be forced to ask the court to reconsider that portion of its ruling,” Marshall said in an email statement to Colorado Community Media and the four majority board members.

To date, the majority of board members have refused to admit they broke open meeting laws, pushing to appeal the initial ruling.

Friday’s ruling reiterates what Holmes said in his preliminary injunction in March 2022. Holmes found that all meetings where public business was discussed must be open to the public, regardless of whether a decision is made, dismissing one of the arguments school board members had made.