Mike Johnson (Colorado)

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Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson (Colorado).jpg
Denver Board of Education, District 3
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 2
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
J.D.Georgetown University
Campaign website
Mike Johnson campaign logo
Mike Johnson currently represents District 3 on the Denver Board of Education in Colorado. He first won election to the board in 2013.


Johnson earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law School. He is currently legal counsel for the Colorado Building Excellent Schools Today program. Johnson previously also worked as a school finance expert for school districts throughout the state. He served as the co-chair of the district's Mill Levy Planning Committee and a member of the Denver School of the Arts Friends Foundation. Johnson and his wife have three daughters who attended district schools.[1]



See also: Denver Public Schools elections (2013)


Johnson sought election to the District 3 seat against fellow challenger Meg Schomp.


Denver Public Schools, Four-year term, District 3, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMike Johnson 57.1% 16,111
     Nonpartisan Meg Schomp 42.9% 12,122
Total Votes 28,233
Source: Denver County Clerk and Recorder, "Final Official Election Results," accessed December 13, 2013


Johnson reported $193,554.13 in contributions and $184,188.89 in expenditures to the Colorado Secretary of State, which left his campaign with $9,365.24 on hand.[2]


Johnson received the following endorsements during the 2013 campaign:[3]

  • Mayor Michael Hancock
  • Ed Benton
  • Colorado Board of Education Member Elaine Gantz Berman
  • Carol Boigon
  • Denver Councilman Albus Brooks
  • CU Regent Michael Carrigan

Campaign themes


Johnson explained his reasons for running for a school board seat on his campaign website:[4]

"I’m running for the Denver School Board because I believe every kid deserves a great education. My parents worked hard to make sure I had the opportunities they never had, and I know how important school can be in the lives of children.

I will do everything in my power to make sure every Denver student has the opportunity to obtain the best education possible – no matter where they live. I’m running as a proud dad, active DPS parent and expert in how schools work.

I believe in our school system and I want to continue to make our schools better because that’s what every Denver kid deserves. We’ve made progress, but we have a long way to go. As a school-board representative, I will fight for what makes a difference in the lives our kids.

​Early childhood education and all-day kindergarten for all Denver kids – so that all kids start their educational career with the tools they need to succeed.

  • More arts, music, sports and enrichment – so that every kid has an opportunity to excel at something and build the skills and self-confidence to take on the challenges of life in this increasingly complex and fast-changing world.
  • Work with teachers to provide the support they deserve, improve training, carve out more time in the school day for planning and collaboration, enhance the status of the profession and provide financial rewards for effective teaching.
  • Stepped-up academic rigor with more advanced placement and honors classes, gifted and talented programs, language instruction and small group tutoring for all kids in all subjects.
  • First-rate neighborhood schools and increased school-based decision-making on budgeting, scheduling, staffing, class size, testing, curriculum, computers in the classroom so that our schools can tailor their programs to the unique needs of their students.
  • Making choice accessible to all families by fighting for transportation options, so that all kids, regardless of their zip code and the ability of their parents to drive them to and from school, have access to the program that fits them best."

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 Poston, former Lieutenant Governor Barbara O'Brien and Michael Kiley. 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[5]
Candidate Stated position
Barbara O'Brien Support
Michael Kiley Support
Joan Poston Oppose
Rosario C. de Baca Support
Rosemary Rodriguez Support
Mike Johnson Support
Meg Schomp Support
Landri Taylor Support
Roger Kilgore 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 Barbara 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.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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 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 Barbara O'Brien, District 2 candidate Rosemary Rodriguez, Mike Johnson in District 3 and District 4 incumbent Landri Taylor.[9] 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 Public Schools is located in Denver County, CO
Denver Public Schools serves students in Denver, the county seat of Denver County, Colorado. According to the 2010 US Census, Denver is home to 600,158 residents.[10]


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.[10]

Racial Demographics, 2010[10]
Race Denver (%) Colorado (%)
White 68.9 81.3
Black or African American 10.2 4
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.4 1.1
Asian 3.4 2.8
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 4.1 3.4
Hispanic or Latino 31.8 20.7

Party Affiliation, 2013[11]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 164,196 50.5
Unaffiliated 103,119 31.7
Republican 53,385 16.4
Libertarian 2,880 0.9
Green 1,187 0.4
American Constitution 630 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.[12]

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