By David Sabados
With five candidates vying for an open at-large school board seat, three statewide ballot measures, and a whopping 13 Denver-specific ballot measures, Denver ballots are larger than normal, especially for an off-year election. You must return ballots by November 2nd. Drop boxes will stay open from October 8th until 7pm on election day. If you are mailing your ballot, give it a week to arrive by election day.
Ballots in this area will include five candidates to replace at-large member Barbara O’Brien who is term limited. Rev. Brad Laurvick, District Five representative, will be up again in 2023.
DPS races in the past few election cycles have often been seen as ideological duopolies with neighborhood school advocates along with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) on one side versus reform groups like Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform on the other. Some current candidates see those lines fading while other candidates see the divides deepening. A few say they are avoiding the major advocacy organizations all-together.
School choice, student performance, community input, and teacher retention dominate election conversations along with the Board’s recent 6-1 vote to censure Director At-Large Tay Anderson, who worked at Manual and then North High Schools before joining the Board. An independent investigation revealed that Anderson made “flirtatious” advances towards at least two female high school students. The firm also found Anderson and his supporters engaged in intimidation tactics towards witnesses. Nineteen witnesses said they “expect, or fear, retaliation from Director Anderson for their participation in the investigation.” The firm said they were unable to interview potential witnesses and corroborate some allegations and they listed the most serious sexual assault allegations as “not substantiated.” Anderson was the sole vote against censure. We talked with all five at-large candidates, asking them about their background, policies that impact our community, their thoughts on Director Anderson, and more.
For this month’s issue, we also talked with proponents and opponents of several of the most interesting (and at times confusing) ballot measures as well, including group living, city bonds, the dueling Park Hill Golf Course measures, and others.
We’re also excited to invite you to an educational election event we’re hosting with Regis University and North Denver neighborhood organizations. We’ve invited all of the at-large school board candidates and representatives from campaigns in favor of and opposing the ballot measures. All campaigns are being offered tabling space so you can talk with them directly and we’ll have speakers for some of the more prominent measures addressing the entire crowd. In order to help keep everyone safe, the event will be outside.
We hope you can join us on October 23 from 1-3pm at Regis University.