Colorado school board elections focus on Amendment 66, school reform

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November 4, 2013


By Nick Katers

Voters in Colorado's 19 largest school districts will cast ballots for school board candidates on November 5, 2013. These elections feature 109 candidates seeking 58 available seats. Some districts are experiencing board turnover due to Amendment 17 to the Colorado Constitution, which says that no "elected official of district....shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office." Races in Colorado's largest school districts focused on a proposed tax increase called Amendment 66 as well as school reform efforts pursued by current board members.


Amendment 66

School board elections throughout Colorado have received increased scrutiny due to Amendment 66, which would raise income taxes to support public education. This proposed constitutional amendment would increase income taxes to 5% for incomes up to $75,000 and 5.9% for incomes over $75,000 in order to raise public education spending by $950 million. Reactions at the local level range from overwhelming support by candidates in the Denver Public Schools race to unanimous opposition by current board members in Douglas County School District.[1]

School reforms

School board candidates in Colorado have debated the consequences of recent reform efforts by district administrators. Douglas County Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen has worked with current board members to develop teacher salaries determined by performance instead of experience or completion of graduate programs. A slate of candidates endorsed by the Douglas County Republican Party is hoping to maintain these reforms while candidates backed by the Douglas County Federation of Teachers hope to reverse these efforts out of concern for long-term academic performance.[2][3]

Candidates in Denver have split over Superintendent Tom Boasberg's focus on charter schools and closing poor-performing public schools. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) has endorsed four candidates who believe that Boasberg's reforms have sapped vital resources intended for public schools. Democrats for Education Reform, a non-profit organization supporting Boasberg's reforms, has endorsed a slate of candidates including former Lieutenant Governor Barbara O'Brien.[4]

Campaign finance

School board campaigns in Denver and Douglas County have attracted significant campaign contributions due to school reform efforts. Candidates for the Denver Board of Education attracted nearly $595,118.21 in candidate contributions led by Barbara O'Brien's $173,324 in reported contributions. Supporters of district reforms including O'Brien, Mike Johnson, Rosemary Rodriguez and Landri Taylor received $479,274.13 or 80.5% of total contributions.

School choice advocates Alex Cranberg and Ralph Nagel donated $35,000 each to pro-board candidates Doug Benevento, James Geddes, Judi Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn in Douglas County. Opponents Barbra Chase Burke, Bill Hodges, Julie Keim and Ronda Scholting received $500 each from Cindy Barnard of Taxpayers for Public Education, a group involved in a lawsuit against the district's school voucher program. Donations reported by the pro-board slate total $156,701.50 or 78.7% of contributions in this race.[5]


Academy School District 20
UncheckedBox.jpg Linda Van Matre
UncheckedBox.jpg Catherine Bullock
UncheckedBox.jpg Shannon Mendes
UncheckedBox.jpg Larry Norman Borland
UncheckedBox.jpg Andrea Van Nort

Adams 12 Five Star Schools
District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Joshua Bastian
UncheckedBox.jpg Debbie Christensen
UncheckedBox.jpg David Elliott
UncheckedBox.jpg Kathy Plomer

District 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Rico Figueroa
UncheckedBox.jpg Amy Speers

Adams County School District 50
UncheckedBox.jpg Joe Davidek
UncheckedBox.jpg Ryan McCoy

Boulder Valley School District
District B
UncheckedBox.jpg Tina Marquis

District E
UncheckedBox.jpg Tom Miers

District F
UncheckedBox.jpg Jennie Belval

Brighton School District
District 2

  • No candidates filed for election.

District 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Michael K. Landwehr

District 5
UncheckedBox.jpg Patrick D. Day
UncheckedBox.jpg Cassandra L. Barker-Carr

District 6
UncheckedBox.jpg Teresa R. Gallegos
UncheckedBox.jpg Stanley Hiller
UncheckedBox.jpg Luis Mella
UncheckedBox.jpg David S. Gill

District 7
UncheckedBox.jpg Gregory Piotraschke

Cherry Creek School District
District D
UncheckedBox.jpg Randy Perlis
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Arnold

District E
UncheckedBox.jpg Karen Fisher

Colorado Springs School District 11
UncheckedBox.jpg Al Loma
UncheckedBox.jpg Jim Mason
UncheckedBox.jpg Charlie Bobbitt
UncheckedBox.jpg LuAnn Long
UncheckedBox.jpg James Tucker
UncheckedBox.jpg Linda Mojer

Denver Public Schools
UncheckedBox.jpg Barbara O'Brien
UncheckedBox.jpg Michael Kiley
UncheckedBox.jpg Joan Poston

District 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Rosario C. de Baca
UncheckedBox.jpg Rosemary Rodriguez

District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Johnson
UncheckedBox.jpg Meg Schomp

District 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Landri Taylor
UncheckedBox.jpg Roger Kilgore

Douglas County School District
District B
UncheckedBox.jpg Barbra Chase Burke
UncheckedBox.jpg James Geddes

District D
UncheckedBox.jpg Judi Reynolds
UncheckedBox.jpg Julie Keim

District E
UncheckedBox.jpg Doug Benevento
UncheckedBox.jpg Bill Hodges

District G
UncheckedBox.jpg Meghann Silverthorn
UncheckedBox.jpg Ronda Scholting

Falcon School District 49
UncheckedBox.jpg John Graham
UncheckedBox.jpg David H. Moore
UncheckedBox.jpg Kevin Butcher
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Bombria
UncheckedBox.jpg Henry D. Allen, Jr.
UncheckedBox.jpg Tammy Harold

Greeley-Evans School District 6
UncheckedBox.jpg Roger Alan DeWitt
UncheckedBox.jpg Paleri Mann
UncheckedBox.jpg Donna Downey
UncheckedBox.jpg Rhonda Solis
UncheckedBox.jpg Steve Hall
UncheckedBox.jpg Ron Brecheisen
UncheckedBox.jpg John Haefeli
UncheckedBox.jpg Logan Mahan

Harrison School District Two
UncheckedBox.jpg Eileen Lynch Gonzalez
UncheckedBox.jpg Joyce L. Leigh
UncheckedBox.jpg Doriena S. Longmire
UncheckedBox.jpg Steven R. Seibert
UncheckedBox.jpg Aaron Simpson
UncheckedBox.jpg Ryan Thompson

Jeffco Public Schools
District 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Tonya Aultman-Bettridge
UncheckedBox.jpg Julie Williams

District 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Jeff Lamontagne
UncheckedBox.jpg John Newkirk

District 5
UncheckedBox.jpg Ken Witt
UncheckedBox.jpg Gordon Van de Water

Littleton Public Schools
UncheckedBox.jpg Dallas Jones
UncheckedBox.jpg Kelly Perez
UncheckedBox.jpg Robert Reichardt
UncheckedBox.jpg Jack Reutzel
UncheckedBox.jpg Carrie Warren-Gully

Mesa County Valley School District 51
District C
UncheckedBox.jpg Patrick Kanda
UncheckedBox.jpg Lonnie White
UncheckedBox.jpg John Williams

District D
UncheckedBox.jpg Michael Z. Lowenstein
UncheckedBox.jpg Tom Parrish

District E
UncheckedBox.jpg John Sluder
UncheckedBox.jpg Greg Mikolai

Poudre School District
District C
UncheckedBox.jpg Mel Hilgenberg
UncheckedBox.jpg David Trask

District D
UncheckedBox.jpg Christophe Febvre

District E
UncheckedBox.jpg Nicholas Holian

Pueblo City Schools
UncheckedBox.jpg Phyllis Sanchez
UncheckedBox.jpg Patty Milner
UncheckedBox.jpg Frances Montgomery
UncheckedBox.jpg Anita Stapleton

St. Vrain Valley School District
District A
UncheckedBox.jpg Joie Siegrist

District B
UncheckedBox.jpg Debbie Lammers

District D
UncheckedBox.jpg John Ahrens

District F
UncheckedBox.jpg Paula Peairs

Thompson School District
District A
UncheckedBox.jpg Jeff Berg
UncheckedBox.jpg Kathleen D. Hatanaka
UncheckedBox.jpg Donna Rice

District B
UncheckedBox.jpg Bryce Carlson
UncheckedBox.jpg Janice Marchman

District E
UncheckedBox.jpg Rocci Bryan
UncheckedBox.jpg Lori Hvizda Ward

District F
UncheckedBox.jpg Carl Langner
UncheckedBox.jpg Gerald Lauer

See also