Aurora school board won’t take any action on report into discrimination

Aurora Superintendent Rico Munn, wearing a white dress shirt and red tie, leans back in his chair and appears to be listening intently to someone or something. His face is serious.
Former Aurora superintendent Rico Munn alleged the school board discriminated against him. (Philip B. Poston / Sentinel Colorado)

The Aurora school board came out of a closed-door session Wednesday and voted, with no discussion, to take no action on a report that substantiated a discrimination complaint from former superintendent Rico Munn.

The public vote was unanimous. The executive session meeting lasted about an hour. The board agenda did not list a public meeting, but a spokesperson for the district had said the board would decide whether to meet publicly after the closed session.

Colorado law generally requires that public meetings be announced 24 hours in advance. 

The former superintendent alleged racial discrimination by the board, and specifically two members, Stephanie Mason and Tramaine Duncan. Munn said the board members had called his Blackness into question in part because they didn’t think he was doing enough to retain Black educators.

An initial fact-finding report in May concluded the claims weren’t backed up because the board members are also Black, because Munn resigned rather than being fired, and because the Board didn’t admit to making some of the statements Munn alleged they had made. A second decision-making report completed in June used the fact-finding report, but found that Munn was effectively pushed out or fired and that racial discrimination did play a role. 

That report recommended that the board censure Mason and Duncan, that the report be published on the district’s website for the public to read for at least a year, and that the board receive training on the district’s anti-discrimination policy and on federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws. 

With the vote, it appears the board will do none of these things. Three of the seven board members, including Mason, are up for re-election this November.

A new superintendent, Michael Giles, is scheduled to start July 1.

Yesenia Robles is a reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado covering K-12 school districts and multilingual education. Contact Yesenia at yrobles@chalkbeat.org.

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