Former Denver Public Schools leader accuses district of keeping public in the dark

Will Jones, the former head of communications for DPS, shared his concerns with the school board
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Posted at 4:41 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-17 09:33:54-04

DENVER — A former Denver Public Schools employee has stepped forward and accused the superintendent of keeping both the public and the school board in the dark about important issues.

Will Jones, the former executive director of communications for the district, addressed the school board Monday night during the public comment section.

While not mentioning Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero by name, he accused him of instituting a policy known as "executive limitations."

“After the board hired your employee, he instituted something called executive limitations. Executive limitations can unfortunately limit what the board knows about the district's day-to-day operations,” said Jones. “Your employee came to my office one day and told me if board members come to me with questions not to answer them, to refer them to him politely and he would do the responding.”

Jones also accused Marrero of making the district’s communications employees sign nondisclosure agreements, also known as NDAs, as a way to make sure they stay quiet after they leave the district.

Jones says he refused to sign one and invited board members to contact him directly.

“I can provide you with details on what I've seen and heard over the past three years,” said Jones.

Former DPS leader accuses district of keeping public in the dark

Steve Katsaros, a DPS parent and co-founder of the Parent Safety Advocacy Group (P-SAG), which formed in the wake of the March 2023 East High School shooting, praised Jones for stepping forward.

“Will Jones is a hero for what he's done,” said Katsaros.

Katsaros said the district has had trouble with transparency under Marrero.

“It’s just continually trying to hide the truth,” said Katsaros.

He hopes by Jones stepping forward the school board will hold the superintendent more accountable.

“I hope they put him on leave. I hope they open an investigation,” said Katsaros. “How he was picked to begin with is a mystery to me because we deserve better.”

In a statement to Denver7, DPS didn’t address Jones’ accusations directly but noted the school board is not involved in daily operations.

“The Denver Public Schools Board of Education adheres to a Policy Governance Model and is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the district, focusing instead on setting strategic goals and maintaining clear operational boundaries,” the statement said. “The Board interacts directly only with the Superintendent, their sole employee, to ensure a streamlined management structure. This approach aligns with best practices endorsed by the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) and facilitates accountability and effective communication. The board's interactions with employees and the community are governed by established policies to guide district operations effectively.”

Jones said he wasn’t granting media interviews on Tuesday because he wanted to spend time speaking with school board members.

However, he said he plans to participate in a press conference with P-SAG and other community members on Thursday morning.

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