|Denver Board of Education, At-large|
|Years in position||2|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 5, 2013|
|First elected||November 5, 2013|
|Lieutenant Governor of Colorado|
|Bachelor's||University of California-Los Angeles|
|Date of birth||April 18, 1950|
|Place of birth||Brawley, CA|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Elections
- 3 Campaign themes
- 4 What was at stake?
- 5 About the district
- 6 Recent news
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 References
O'Brien earned her Bachelor's degree in English from the University of California-Los Angeles. She also holds a Master's degree and Ph.D. in English from Columbia University. She began her career as a speechwriter for former Governor Richard Lamm and administrator at the University of Colorado. O'Brien was president of the Colorado Children's Campaign from 1990 to 2006. This organization focused on improving student health throughout the district. O'Brien is currently the president of Get Smart Schools, a non-profit that prepares school administrators hired for low-income schools. She was involved with the Colorado P-20 Education Coordinating Council and the Race to the Top Initiative during her time as Lieutenant Governor.
- See also: Denver Public Schools elections (2013)
|Denver Public Schools, Four-year term, At-large, 2013|
|Source: Denver County Clerk and Recorder, "Final Official Election Results," accessed December 13, 2013|
O'Brien received the following endorsements during the 2013 campaign:
- Congressman Jared Polis
- Congressman Ed Perlmutter
- Former Governor Bill Ritter
- Former Governor Roy Romer
- Former First Lady of Colorado Jeannie Ritter
- Former First Lady of Colorado Bea Romer
O'Brien explained her themes for the 2013 campaign on her website:
Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.
What was at stake?
Incumbents Mary Seawell, Andrea Merida and Jeannie Kaplan did not seek re-election to the at-large, District 2 and District 3 seats, respectively. A three-way race for the at-large seat featured former Lieutenant Governor O'Brien, Michael Kiley and Joan Poston. The District 2 race featured newcomers Rosario C. de Baca and Rosemary Rodriguez. Mike Johnson and Meg Schomp competed to replace Kaplan in District 3. Landri Taylor ran for re-election in District 4 against challenger Roger Kilgore.
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|
|Rosario C. de Baca||Support|
Conflict of interest concerns
Candidates for the at-large, District 3 and District 4 seats accused their opponents of conflicts of interest. At-large candidate Michael Kiley pointed out that the district has a $350,000 contract with Get Smart Schools, a non-profit organization headed by O'Brien. O'Brien countered that Kiley's employer, Kronos, provides software to the district. District 3 candidate Meg Schomp believed opponent Mike Johnson could not meet the board's ethical standards due to his work as a school finance consultant. Johnson pointed out that Schomp's husband is an attorney who has represented the district in past legal actions.
District 4 candidate Roger Kilgore asked his opponent, incumbent Landri Taylor, to resign due to a conflict-of-interest allegation. Kilgore noted that Taylor is the CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, which has a $142,962 contract with the district for after-school programs. Taylor criticized Kilgore's request and argued that the agreement occurred after Taylor was a board member. He also suggested that he would recuse himself if the board voted on issues related to agreements with the Urban League.
School reform in Denver
The 2013 election has developed into a referendum on the reforms set in motion by Superintendent Tom Boasberg since his appointment in 2009. Boasberg has increased the district's emphasis on charter schools and closed poor-performing facilities. Opponents of Boasberg's reforms cite a persistent achievement gap between affluent and low-income student populations.
The direction of the seven-member board could change significantly based on the results of this election. Three current members of the board are not seeking re-election. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) has endorsed at-large candidate Michael Kiley, District 2 candidate Rosario C. de Baca, District 3 candidate Meg Schomp and Roger Kilgore in District 4. These candidates want to slow down or halt development of charter schools in the district. Democrats for Education Reform, a non-profit organization supporting Boasberg's reforms, has endorsed at-large candidate O'Brien, District 2 candidate Rosemary Rodriguez, Mike Johnson in District 3 and District 4 incumbent Landri Taylor. With clear divisions between these two slates of candidates, Denver voters are able to express their views on district policies at the ballot box.
About the district
- See also: Denver Public Schools, Colorado
Denver outperformed the rest of Colorado in higher education achievement while lagging behind state rates for median income and poverty in 2010. The average household income in Denver was $47,499 compared to $57,685 for the state of Colorado. The poverty rate in Denver was 18.8% compared to 12.5% for the entire state. The U.S. Census also found that 41.3% of Denver residents aged 25 years and older earned a bachelor's degree compared to 36.3% in Colorado.
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. This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Barbara + O'Brien + Denver + Public + Schools + Colorado"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- District page
- Campaign website
- Campaign Facebook page
- Democratic Party of Colorado
- Democratic National Committee
- Office of the Lieutenant Governor website
- Barbara O'Brien biography on Project Vote Smart
- Barbara O'Brien for Denver Public Schools, "About Barbara," accessed October 29, 2013
- Colorado TRACER, "Candidate Detail," accessed December 20, 2013
- Barbara O'Brien for Denver Public Schools, "Endorsements," accessed October 29, 2013
- Barbara O'Brien for Denver Public Schools, "Issues," accessed October 29, 2013
- EdNews Colorado, "DPS Election 2013," accessed October 29, 2013
- The Colorado Independent, "Denver school board election accusations spotlight tangled web of relationships," October 29, 2013
- Denver Post, "Denver school board candidate Kilgore calls on Taylor to resign," October 24, 2013
- Denver Post, "Tom Boasberg, Denver school leader, has a lot riding on board election results," August 30, 2013
- EdNews Colorado, "DPS board endorsements mount up," September 16, 2013
- U.S. Census, "Quick Facts: Denver, accessed October 29, 2013
- Colorado Secretary of State, “Voter Registration Numbers,” accessed October 29, 2013
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
Jane Norton (R)
|Lieutenant Governor of Colorado
| Succeeded by|
Joseph Garcia (D)