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Tonya Aultman-Bettridge

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Tonya Aultman-Bettridge
Tonya Aultman Bettridge.png
Former candidate for
Board Member, Jeffco Public Schools, District 1
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Ph.D.University of Colorado Denver
ProfessionPublic policy analyst
Campaign website
Tonya Aultman-Bettridge campaign logo
Tonya Aultman-Bettridge was a candidate for District 1 on the Jeffco School Board in Colorado. She was defeated by fellow challenger Julie Williams on November 5, 2013.


Aultman-Bettridge has her Ph.D. in Public Administration, with a focus on youth/family public policy, from University of Colorado Denver. She is married to Glen, and the couple has one son. She is employed as a researcher and public policy analyst for issues concerning children, youth and family.[1]



See also: Jeffco Public Schools elections (2013)


Aultman-Bettridge was running for election against challenger Julie Williams on November 5, 2013.


Jeffco Board of Education, Four-year term, District 1, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJulie Williams 61% 82,868
     Nonpartisan Tonya Aultman-Bettridge 39% 52,936
Total Votes 135,804
Source: Jefferson County Board of Elections, "2013 Coordinated Election," November 27, 2013


Aultman-Bettridge reported $27,902.09 in contributions and $27,902.09 in expenditures to the Colorado Secretary of State, which left her campaign with no cash on hand.[2]


Aultman-Bettridge was endorsed by the Golden Good Government League, the Jeffco Democrats Latino Initiative and Denver Area Labor Federation, among others.[3]

Campaign themes

Aultman-Bettridge listed her campaign priorities as the following on her website:[4]

Parent and Caregiver Engagement
Students do better when their parents and/or caregivers are active partners with schools. Just as our students have individual needs for their education, so too do parents and other caregivers have different experiences, motivations, and challenges affecting their level of engagement with schools. I will advocate for more innovative, culturally competent, and relevant ways of engaging and supporting our parents. In my volunteer work with the district and local parent groups across the county, I have strived to bring voices to the table that represent the diversity of thoughts, ideas, and experiences that our Jeffco parents have. We can and should include parents as our partners.

Teacher Effectiveness
As the parent representative to the educator evaluation committee, I worked to ensure teacher communication and partnerships with parents were included in evaluation criteria. As a professional researcher and evaluator, I understand it is vital that the district implement a system of evaluating our faculty and staff that supports the cultivation of highly effective teachers and administrators. Any system can generate a score or a label; a good system of evaluation will allow Jeffco educators to see, clearly, where they are having success and where there are opportunities for improvement. A great system of evaluation links those results to development opportunities and support, so educators have the opportunity to grow and improve as professionals. We have the will and capacity to do this.

School Choice
Parents in Jefferson County have the choice to enroll their children in their neighborhood school, an innovative program that better fits their child in another neighborhood school, an option school or a charter school. Parents have the right and, I would argue, the responsibility to be involved in their children’s education. Option and charter schools can meet needs not available to students with educational needs or goals outside the traditional school model. But they do not replace the foundation of a strong public education system that ensures that every child in our county has access to a great education, regardless of the choices that are readily available to them, or the choices their parents do or do not make. Therefore, my priority as a school board member will be to ensure that each neighborhood school represents a viable and excellent option for parents and children in the community.

School Safety
Protecting the students under our care must be a priority. Schools must balance the need to make our building structures secure with the need to reassure our students that they can learn in a safe environment. Through the Safe Communities-Safe Schools Initiative, I have worked with schools to improve security from both external threats and internal issues, including bullying and student intimidation. In a decade of researching school safety issues I have learned the importance of partnerships with the community and local law enforcement to not just respond to incidents of violence, but to do everything we can to prevent them.

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[5]
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.[6][7]

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.[8]


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.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2010[8]
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[9]
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 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[10] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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