APS board to begin investigation into Eric Nelson’s credentials, past

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AURORA | Aurora Public Schools Board of Education members have heard only crickets from their embattled peer Eric Nelson nearly a week after a majority of board members called for Nelson to step down from his post.

As of about 2 p.m. Monday, June 27, APS Board President Amber Drevon had not received any indication that Nelson plans to resign his seat on the board, according to APS spokeswoman Patti Moon. At the June 21 school board meeting, Drevon asked Nelson to submit his resignation by Friday, June 24, a move prompted by a rash of allegations that call into question Nelson’s academic and military credentials, as well as his criminal background.

In an unofficial show-of-hands vote, five of seven APS board members — including Drevon — called for Nelson to resign his board seat.

That lack of action from Nelson sets into motion plans for the district to conduct a “comprehensive review” of Nelson’s credentials, according to Drevon.

“Superintendent (Rico) Munn will, as soon as they’re available, gather all of (Nelson’s) credentials that he will provide to us, (and) do a comprehensive review of that,” Drevon told reporters at a press conference June 22. “We have tasked (APS administrators) with bringing that report back to the board Aug. 2. And then we’ve asked our legal counsel to give us a very clear breakdown of what the authority of the board is at that time.”

The board has no plans to meet in July.

Following an initial report in The Colorado Statesman, Nelson has faced a slew of allegations, including misrepresenting his service with the U.S. Air Force, misconstruing his academic records, downplaying a lengthy criminal history and missing child support payments.

Nelson is running in a Democratic primary against Dominique “Nikki” Jackson to represent Colorado House District 42.

Also at the school board meeting, the board voted to suspend Nelson from performing all non-statutory duties and strip him of his status as board secretary.

Though he did not address any of the specific allegations, Nelson made clear during the APS board meeting that he does not intend to resign his seat.

“I have no intention of resigning from this board,” he said. “The people of Aurora elected me to do this job, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Drevon said that the issues with Nelson’s resume have created an unnecessary distraction for the board.

“I’m disappointed in the fact that this is taking away from the important work that we have been doing for the students of Aurora,” she said. “We’ve made a lot of big and good decisions, I think, that will better serve students, and I would prefer that that be the focus of our attention.”

In response to questions about instituting a better vetting process for locally elected officials, Drevon said that changes would have to begin at the state-level.

“My understanding is that it’s all state statue so I guess it would be up to the voters to come together and  determine what kind of criteria they would like to see,” she said.