Take both of us or neither.

That’s the ultimatum two bilingual education opponents say they have issued the Denver school board.

Board members have said they want the financial backer of a ballot initiative that would virtually eliminate bilingual education, California millionaire Ron Unz, to be the opponents’ sole representative at a Wednesday forum. That is where the board will decide whether to support the initiative, which would require that English learners be taught in English.

Rita Montero, a former Denver school board member who chairs the initiative’s Colorado campaign, was not invited. But board president Elaine Berman said Montero was free to sign up during a public comment period where speakers will get three minutes apiece.

On Thursday, Montero and Unz said they both would skip the forum unless both could present together.

“I have some of the information and Rita has other portions of the information,” Unz said. “I’m not saying it has to be one or the other. I think the most logical thing is for both of us to speak before the Denver board.”

Berman said she would seek input from fellow board members before deciding whether to allow both Montero and Unz to appear.

“We’ve consistently said we wanted to have one representative from each side,” she said. “If Mr. Unz chooses not to come, it would be a shame because then the school board will not have the benefit of hearing the arguments in favor of this initiative.”

Opponents said they were not told to pick a specific representative, but Berman said that’s because the board had yet to discuss that matter with the opposition.

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