Voters shake up school boards in Colorado’s biggest districts

Marianne Goodland:

At stake in the state’s second-largest school district: control of the board by candidates backed by teachers’ unions or those supported by conservative causes.

Incumbents who chose not to run again held two of the three seats on this year’s ballot and had been backed by the union in past elections.

Unofficial results show the Jeffco Kids slate of Danielle Varda (District 1), Paula Reed (District 2) and Mary Parker (District 5) winning by comfortable margins. The slate was backed by the Jefferson County Education Association and the Colorado Education Association, as well as from an independent expenditure committee (IEC), Students Deserve Better, funded by CEA and several other teachers’ unions along the Front Range. IECs are allowed to collect unlimited contributions but are forbidden by state law from coordinating with candidates they support.

Varda won over Jeffrey Wilhite, Reed defeated Therese Shelton and David Johnson, and Parker defeated Kathy Miks.

The Jefferson County GOP endorsed Shelton, Miks and Wilhite.

Brooke Williams, president of the Jeffco Education Association, told Colorado Politics “Voters showed they trust the educators in the classroom. I’m very excited because these are the candidates who will help unite our community for our students’ future…they’re going to be focused on our students, expanding career and technical education programs and career opportunities, what our students need and what educators need to improve education in Jeffco and give students the best possible experience.”