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Julie Keim

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Julie Keim
Julie Keim.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, Douglas County School District, District G
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsTwo consecutive terms
Bachelor'sUniversity of Arizona
ProfessionDirector of Finance and Contracts for Creative Energy Systems
Campaign website
Julie Keim campaign logo
Ballotpedia's school board candidate survey
Julie Keim was a candidate for the District D seat on the Douglas County School District Board of Education in Colorado. She was defeated by fellow challenger Judi Reynolds on November 5, 2013. Keim ran to restore a focus on excellence and innovation to our school district. [1]


Keim moved to Colorado in 2000 with her husband and three children. Keim received her BSBA in Accounting from the University of Arizona in 1987. She became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1990, and was registered in Arizona and Missouri. Keim worked as a CPA for the State of Arizona Office of the Auditor General where she audited the financial records of governmental entities and the State of Arizona Department of Economic Security as Finance Director. She also worked as a Senior Manager for Deloitte Consulting to help improve business practices and computer systems for a variety of governmental programs and entities. She is currently the Director of Finance and Contracts for Creative Energy Systems.

Keim has previously volunteered with the Lewis-Palmer School District and the Douglas County School District with several education-focused groups and programs, often using her financial background as a group's treasurer. Her contributions include writing the grant to bring pre-school education and later full-day kindergarten to at risk children in LPSD through the Colorado Preschool and Kindergarten Program, working with the Parent Teacher Organization and the School Accountability Committee, and playing a role in establishing two parent programs in 2011 at Castle Rock Middle School and High School. [2]



See also: Douglas County School District elections (2013)


Keim ran against fellow challenger Judi Reynolds for the District D seat in the general election on November 5, 2013.


Douglas County School Board of Directors, Four-year term, District D, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJudi Reynolds 51.9% 52,230
     Nonpartisan Julie Keim 48.1% 48,399
Total Votes 100,629
Source: Douglas County Elections, "2013 Coordinated Election," November 21, 2013


Keim reported $11,441.95 in contributions and $11,441.95 in expenditures to the Colorado Secretary of State, which left her campaign with no cash on hand.[3]

Campaign themes

Keim's campaign website listed the following campaign themes for 2013:[4]

Accountability to the public

  • Our fund balance (cash on hand) has grown exponentially while our schools’ site-based budgets have been cut, resulting in our schools struggling just to operate.
  • Our schools are being asked to be innovative and to compete for students with little or no funding attached to support these efforts.
  • Auditors have cited significant and material weaknesses in the internal financial controls of our District that could result in the material misstatement of the District’s financial position. No such findings (back to 2006) were noted by the Auditors prior to the introduction of this BoE and Administration.
  • According to Colorado Department of Education, the number of students has grown by 10%, but our teacher positions have gone down 1%. At the same time, District Administration has increased by 10%.
  • This BoE has increased the time spent in closed-door Executive Sessions from 8% to nearly half of all meeting time and has voted 7-0 on all but a handful of agenda items with no public discussion.

Academic excellence

  • Our District has lost its Accreditation with Distinction while neighboring school districts (Lewis-Palmer School District and Littleton Public Schools) that have experienced similar challenges during the economic downturn were able to maintain their same Accreditations.
  • High school students are now receiving nearly three weeks less classroom instruction per subject resulting in hundreds of hours of less preparation during their high school years.
  • Community members are losing their voice because the “democratically elected” members of the Board believe they no longer have to represent their entire constituency and the best interests of our children and community.
  • High school graduation requirements have been reduced resulting in less incentive for our students to work their hardest in preparation for their future, whether that be in a job or college setting.

Public input and respect

  • Public communication with the Board has been significantly limited or completely eliminated.
  • The practice of holding Community Engagement Meetings dedicated to hearing from the public was ended abruptly in 2012-13 with no explanation.
  • Public comment changed from 3 minutes with an unlimited number of speakers to 2 minutes with only 30 minutes dedicated at each Board meeting.
  • The level of respect shown to individuals by Board members varies based on whether the individual supports the Board or not.
  • If the citizen is not supportive of the current direction of the school district, School Board Directors avert their eyes or busy themselves with other things when the speaker does not support their agenda or they openly attack and argue with that individual.
  • If the citizen is supportive of the current direction of the school district, School Board Directors provide them positive feedback or allow shameful costumes and antics to take place.
  • Highly effective and respected teachers and school-based administrators are fleeing our schools and the current BoE refuses to acknowledge this problem. Our BoE has brought partisan politics into a community leadership role that is a nonpartisan elected office. This recent practice goes back to the 2009 election, which is when the drastic change in parent and employee satisfaction took place.

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

What was at stake?

Four seats, including that of the board president, were at stake. John Carson, the incumbent in District B, was not running for re-election. Barbra Chase Burke and James Geddes were running for election to the seat. Carson, who was first elected to the board in 2005, was ineligible to run for another term because of Amendment 17 to the Colorado Constitution, which says that no "elected official of district....shall serve more than two consecutive terms in office."

The District D race included newcomers Keim and Judi Reynolds running for the seat currently held by Carrie Mendoza. Stephen Boyd announced that he would run in the District D race but withdrew before filing his nomination petition so that he would not "split the vote."[5] Incumbent Doug Benevento faced challenger Bill Hodges in the District E race. Ronda Scholting filed with the Colorado Secretary of State to challenge for Meghann Silverthorn's seat in District G.


DougCo Parents Want Change

Alleged campaign violations

Keim filed a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State on October 17, 2013, alleging that the school district used resources to support its preferred school board candidates and to deny challengers information regarding the involvement of outside groups and individuals in the election. Keim requested copies of emails between district officials with supporters including Americans for Prosperity, the Independence Institute and campaign contributors like Alex Cranberg and Ralph Nagel.[6] Texas businessman Alex Cranberg and investment banker Ralph Nagel co-founded the Alliance for Choice in Education to promote school choice and contributed approximately 89% of the $156,701.50 in campaign donations reported by Doug Benevento, James Geddes, Judi Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn.[7]

District administration conducted a search for the requested correspondence that turned up more than 13,000 e-mails, 101 of which Keim had received by October 23. She criticized administrators for the slow pace and claimed, "I think they’re trying to delay so nothing can be exposed before the election. [...]I want them to be open and honest and truly transparent about what is going on with all these organizations. It’s concerning to me so many people who are not local have such a voice in our future." School board Vice President Kevin Larsen responded to her allegations by labeling them "[...]a patently frivolous political stunt masquerading as a complaint." District legal counsel Rob Ross explained the delay by stating that each e-mail must be reviewed by district personnel for legally protected information before being disclosed.[6]

Administrative Law Judge Hollyce Farrell ruled in December 2013 that the district violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act by using public funds to commission a report that promoted reform policies during the 2013 campaign. The district used $15,000 in public funds to pay Rick Hess, an education expert with the American Enterprise Institute, to write a report titled "The Most Interesting School District in America?" Farrell concluded that the report was an improper use of funds on behalf of incumbents seeking re-election. Farrell did not require a fine from the district, which plans to appeal the decision in higher court.[8]

Audio editing controversy

In late September, Meghann Silverthorn accused challenger Ronda Scholting of selectively editing a September 13 interview between Silverthorn and local radio host Mike Rosen. The interview featured a discussion of the motivations behind efforts to replace current board members in the 2013 election. Rosen stated, "These are nice, well-meaning, naive soccer moms who can’t distinguish between an individual teacher and the collective menace and intransigence of a teachers’ union with its political power" and Silverthorn agreed with the statement. Scholting's ad includes Rosen saying, "You’re up against mostly women. Nice, well-meaning, naive soccer moms," and audio of Silverthorn's agreement with Rosen. Scholting notes that her editing was comparable to techniques used by broadcast journalists while Silverthorn believes the ad does not truly represent her position on district policies.[9]

Rally outside district offices

A September 27 demonstration outside of the district's administrative offices featured 200 attendees marching in support of local teachers. Demonstrators held signs that supported teachers and opposed the board's reform efforts over the past four years. According to interviews with the Denver Post, attendees argued that teachers were frustrated by limited instructional time, new evaluations and the district's attitude toward instructional staff. District officials have countered these claims by citing internal surveys with teachers that revealed high morale and greater flexibility in the classroom.[10]

Involvement of community groups

Local groups ramped up efforts to support incumbents and challengers in the 2013 election. DougCo Champions for Kids is a non-profit that is also registered as a part of Texas-based firm C3 Solutions. This organization supported the reform efforts of the current board through direct mail and door-to-door campaigning. DougCo Champions for Kids received some funding from the Independence Institute, a Denver-based think tank that promotes free market principles. The C3 Solutions executive board features two officers who are affiliated with the institute. Another pro-board group is the Douglas County Education Alliance, which has been connected with an Arizona consultancy called DC-London founded by Republican adviser Sean Noble.[11]

Challengers in the 2013 race were supported by a non-profit called the Strong Schools Coalition and a political action committee (PAC) called Douglas County Parents. Strong Schools Coalition received $4,000 in donations according to group president Lauren Mutton. The group stated that it is self-funded with contributions from Taxpayers for Public Education used for legal fees associated with a lawsuit against the district's voucher program.[11]

Americans for Prosperity, "It's Working"

Board reform efforts

The board's reform efforts including a voucher program, dissolution of the teachers' union agreement and a pay-for-performance plan became the focus of attention in the 2013 campaign. Strong Schools Coalition led efforts to reverse some of these reforms and eliminate political involvement in board functions.[12] The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity ran ads in the region starting in August supporting the board's reform efforts while admonishing critics.[13]

Partisanship in board races

Though Colorado school boards are officially nonpartisan, Douglas County has drawn attention for the involvement of the local Republican Party in board elections. In the 2009 and 2011 elections, the Douglas County Republican Party endorsed the six current members and former member Dan Gerken.[14] The party endorsed incumbents Doug Benevento and Meghann Silverthorn as well as challengers James Geddes and Judi Reynolds for the 2013 campaign.[15] Former District G candidate Nicholas Land criticized the board as too loyal to the Republican Party and wanted the board to represent the entire community regardless of partisan affiliation.[16] Former District D candidate Kevin Leung refused to interview with the Douglas County Republicans after starting his campaign. "I believe that local, nonpartisan school board elections should not be drawn into party politics. Decisions and agendas should not become strongly influenced by party ideologies instead of serving the people and the children in our schools," said Leung.[17]

About the district

See also: Douglas County School District, Colorado
Douglas County School District is located in Douglas County, CO
Douglas County School District is located in Douglas County, Colorado. Douglas County is located between the cities of Denver and Colorado Springs and the county seat is Castle Rock. According to the 2010 US Census, Douglas County is home to 285,465 residents.[18]


Douglas County outperforms the rest of Colorado based on average household income, poverty rate and graduation rates in 2011. The average household income in Douglas County was $101,193 compared to $57,685 for the state of Colorado. The poverty rate in Douglas County was 3.5% compared to 12.5% for the entire state. The U.S. Census also found that 54.6% of Douglas County residents aged 25 years and older attained a bachelor's degree compared to a 36.3% in Colorado.[18]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Julie + Keim + Douglas + County + Schools"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Julie Keim News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. "Julie Keim for Douglas County Schools," "Home," Accessed August 30, 2013
  2. "Julie Keim for Douglas County Schools," "About Julie," Accessed August 30, 2013
  3. Colorado TRACER, "Candidate Detail," Accessed December 20, 2013
  4. "Julie Keim for Douglas County Schools," "Matters of Concern," Accessed August 30, 2013
  5. Jane Reuter,, "Candidate field changes as election draws closer," August 22, 2013
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jane Reuter,, "Candidate alleges campaign violation," October 23, 2013
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named campaign
  8. Zahira Torres, Denver Post, "Judge: Douglas County school district violated fair campaign laws," December 27, 2013
  9. Jane Reuter, Our Colorado News, "Radio show cut ignites candidate controversy," September 30, 2013
  10. Carlos Illescas, Denver Post, "More than 200 people rally against Douglas County school policies," September 27, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jane Reuter, Our Colorado News, "Variety of groups joining school fray," September 25, 2013
  12. Jane Reuter,, "Petition decries politics in school elections," August 21, 2013
  13. Jane Reuter,, "School board election gearing up," July 8, 2013
  14. Jane Reuter,, "Douglas County GOP hosts school board," January 19, 2013
  15. Jane Reuter, Highlands Ranch News, "Local Republicans endorse candidates," August 19, 2013
  16. Clayton Woullard,, "Douglas County teen to run for school board," June 26, 2013
  17. Kevin Leung, EdNews Voices, "Voices: Declining a party endorsement in school board elections," July 25, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 U.S. Census, "Douglas County Quick Facts, Accessed July 16, 2013
  19. Colorado Secretary of State, “Voter Registration Numbers,” Accessed July 19, 2013