John Newkirk

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John Newkirk
John Newkirk.jpg
Board Member, Jeffco Public Schools, District 2
Incumbent
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 1
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Education
High schoolEvergreen High School
Bachelor'sRensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Websites
Campaign website
John Newkirk campaign logo
John Newkirk currently represents District 2 on the Jeffco School Board in Colorado. He was first elected to the board in 2013.

BIography

Newkirk is a product of the Jeffco School System, having attended Wilmot Elementary, Evergreen Middle, and Evergreen High School. In college, Newkirk studied engineering, earning a degree from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He and his wife, Melissa, who is also a Jeffco graduate, have three children currently in Jeffco schools.[1]

Elections

2013

See also: Jeffco Public Schools elections (2013)

Opposition

Newkirk ran for election against challenger Jeff Lamontagne on November 5, 2013.

Results

Jeffco Board of Education, Four-year term, District 2, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Newkirk 54% 72,769
     Nonpartisan Jeff Lamontagne 46% 62,073
Total Votes 134,842
Source: Jefferson County Board of Elections, "2013 Coordinated Election," November 27, 2013

Funding

Newkirk reported $6,815.00 in contributions and $6,760.00 in expenditures to the Colorado Secretary of State, which left his campaign with $55.00 on hand.[2]

Endorsements

Newkirk was endorsed by the Jefferson County Republican Party,[3] Denver radio host Mike Rosen[4] and the Colorado Women’s Alliance.[5]

Campaign themes

Newkirk listed his campaign priorities as the following on his website:[6]

Set Goals: After running two successful businesses and serving on several nonprofit boards, I’ve learned to start with the end in mind, brainstorm all possible solutions, hear from all stakeholders, and then act on a well-defined plan that ultimately yields the best results. Our Jeffco community deserves to know which specific educational milestones we intend to improve upon, and how our resources will be allocated to help us achieve peak performance.

Listen, Listen, Listen, Decide: The school board needs to listen to parents, students, teachers, bus drivers, secretaries, maintenance staff, custodians, administrators, faith leaders, employers, and others to get firsthand knowledge of the solutions proposed for the complex issues we face in our public schools. A dictated, top down, one-size-fits-all strategy is not appropriate. The board must listen to all stakeholders; we need to make board meetings more accessible and use new technologies to reach our communities. Once this input has been gathered, the board needs to set goals and policies, and then allow the experts to carry them out.

Direct Decisions and Resources Closer to Classrooms: Jeffco is a large district with diverse needs. Flexibility at a local level, where decision makers are closest to the students, leads to more achievement. We need to assure that our principals have the skills to manage this process. We need to encourage parents to be active in our schools and assure their voices, as well as those of the staff, are involved in what is best for their students. The board should design processes that focus on the needs of each student in each classroom and assure that the resources are in the schools to accomplish the goals set at the school level.

Let’s Raise the Ceiling and the Floor: Many Jeffco students are capable of absorbing more than one year’s worth of information each school year. These students must have the resources and support they need to be challenged during their years in the Jeffco schools. Each student should have academic options that challenge them and be given the opportunity to excel at a pace that matches their abilities. Likewise, some students need more than one year’s worth of learning to catch up. We need to assure those resources are in place as well.

Provide Enough Slots for the Programs Parents Want: Many of our option programs, neighborhood programs, and charter programs have long waitlists; so many students don’t have access to the programs most desirable to their family. The board needs to evaluate waitlists and geographic distribution of programs to assure that zip codes do not dictate a Jeffco student’s education.

Use Technology to Support Better Education: We need to assure that technology is used primarily to enhance learning, and it must be done in a way that keeps everyone’s data safe.

Education Options: As the father of three beautiful daughters I know that each child is unique and their needs can be very different. I totally support Jeffco having many choice options available. These should include charters, home school options as well as alternative programs and programs for gifted students and students with special needs. In fact this year my oldest daughter is enrolled in the Jeffco virtual academy, this is the best option for her and we are grateful it is available. Unfortunately in Jeffco many of our charter and options schools as well as choice programs have wait lists meaning families are not getting the educational choices they prefer. This needs to change so that whether you want your child in a neighborhood school, or a choice school or program that should be possible.

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.


What was at stake?

Three seats on the board were at stake in this election in Districts 1, 2 and 5. All incumbents of those districts were ineligible to run for another term because of Amendment 17 to the Colorado Constitution, which states that no "elected official of any [...] school district [...] shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office." As a result, all board members voted in this election will be new.

Issues in the election

Stances on Amendment 66

Colorado voters cast ballots on Amendment 66, a constitutional amendment that increases income taxes to support public education. The following table lists the publicly stated position of each Board of Education candidate on the amendment.

Stances on Amendment 66[7]
Candidate Stated position
Tonya Aultman-Bettridge Support
Jeff Lamontagne Support
John Newkirk Oppose
Gordon Van de Water Support
Julie Williams Oppose
Ken Witt Oppose

Issues in the district

Superintendent resignation

Superintendent Cindy Stevenson announced plans to resign from the district shortly after the 2013 school board election. Stevenson left the district to work with the Colorado Association of School Executives after 12 years as superintendent. During a board meeting on February 8, the outgoing superintendent noted that the current board wanted changes in district leadership and she felt a lack of respect from new board members. Stevenson's speech drew cheers from supporters in the audience and boos for board members. Board member Julie Williams countered that Stevenson had not attempted to work with the board, citing her intention to leave the district shortly after the election. The board is working with district officials to handle day-to-day affairs through the remainder of the school year rather than appointing an interim superintendent.[8][9]

About the district

See also: Jeffco Public Schools, Colorado
Jeffco Public Schools is located in Jefferson County, CO
Jeffco Public Schools is based out of Golden, Colorado in Jefferson County. According to the 2010 US Census, Jefferson County is home to 534,543 residents.[10]

Demographics

Jefferson County outperformed the rest of Colorado in terms of graduation rate, median household income and poverty rate. The average household income in Jefferson County was $67,827 compared to $57,685 for the state of Colorado. The poverty rate in Colorado Springs was 8.5% compared to 12.5% for the entire state. The graduation rate was 93.2% compared to 89.7% statewide.[10]

Racial Demographics, 2010[10]
Race Jefferson County (%) Colorado (%)
White 92.4 81.3
Black or African American 1.3 4
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.2 1.1
Asian 2.8 2.8
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.3 3.4
Hispanic or Latino 14.9 20.7

Party Affiliation, 2013[11]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Republican 109,453 33.7
Unaffiliated 110,176 33.9
Democratic 101,611 31.3
Libertarian 2,326 0.7
American Constitution 527 0.2
Green 722 0.2

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100.0%. Each column will add up to 100.0% after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages.[12]

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See also

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