31 August 2011

Denver Public Schools School Board November 2011 Election Candidates

In odd numbered years, Denver voters choose Denver Public Schools school board members to four year terms in addition to voting on some ballot issues. This year the election date is director districts (two of which up this time around and the remaining three of which were voted upon tow years ago). This year's director district elections involve District 1 in Southeast Denver current held by Bruce L. Hoyt, and District 5 in Northwest Denver currently held Arturo Jiminez. Voters in District 3 in Southwest Denver held by Andrea Medira, in District 2 in Central Denver held by Jeannie Kaplan, and District 4 in Northeast Denver held by Nate Easley vote only in the at large school board race this year.

Ballot access was available to any candidate presenting a nominating petition with fifty signatures from registered voters in Denver by the deadline this month. Ballot placement is by lot.

There are five candidates in the at large school board race which has no incumbent candidates:
* John Daniel
* Frank E. Deserino
* Allegra "Happy" Haynes
* Roger Kilgore
* Jacqueline Carole Shumway

In District 1, the two candidates, neither of whom is an incumbent, will be:
* Anne Bye Rowe
* Emily Lipp Sirota

Outgoing Bruce Hoyt from District 1 tended to vote with the current majority on the Denver School Board. Rowe is a co-founder of the organization "A+ Denver."

In District 5, one candidate is challenging incumbent Arturo Jimenez is his bid for re-election. The candidates are:
* Jennifer Draper Carson
* Arturo Jimenez

Carson worked on Jimenez's 2007 school board campaign and is active as a parent of a child at North High School where she is a member of the parent board that is the official means by which the school's administration consults with parents on matters of school policy below the school district level.

The races are officially non-partisan and there are no primary elections for school board races, but there are two organized factions that have backed candidates in prior elections.

One faction is the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

The other is a "business friendly" coalition that has tended to favor a greater emphasis on charter schools and specialized programs and large scale overhaul from scratch of schools they see as failing. This coalition in represented this year by two organizations, "Democrats for Education Reform and the political arm Stand for Children." The endorsement is certainly no guarantee of success. Just one of the four candidates Stand for Children endorsed in 2009 (Nate Easley) won a school board race in that year.

They have endorsed Allegra "Happy" Haynes in the at large race, Jennifer Draper Carson in the District 1 race and Anne Bye Rowe in the District 5 race. Happy Haynes is a former DPS employee and Denver city councilwoman.

Since 2009, the board has had major rifts and an increased number of 4-to-3 split votes, particularly on major reform efforts.

In December of 2009, the board voted 4-3 to turn around Lake Middle School by phasing out an International Baccalaureate program, replacing it with a new one, and co-locating a charter school on campus.

Jimenez, who represents northwest Denver, was part of the three-vote minority but now supports the changes.

A similar but larger-scale turnaround plan for the far northeast neighborhoods passed on a 4-3 vote in November.

The 4-3 vote also moved ahead on a motion that limited forced placement of teachers into the lowest performing schools while the district worked with the union to create a policy for mutual consent.

Of course, a great many issues, some significant, are not matters of dispute for Denver's school board, and received unanimous votes supporting a single approach.

Jimenez is a candidate for the DCTA leaning three vote faction. Andrea Medira, who has a recent post at Colorado Pols, in District 3, is another. The third has been Jeanne Kaplan of District 2.

The matter has gone heated including both public protocol insults in the proceedings of the Board as the 2009 election winners took office and a failed attempt to recall Nate Easely who is in the four vote majority on the board. This faction has been associated in public debate with current Denver Public Schools Superintendent Boasberg and by former Superintendent, and current U.S. Senator Michael Bennet.

Emily Sirota, not previously a public figure in her own right (although her husband David Sirota is a well known Denver based pundit), is a self-described community activist who has the backing of Andrea Medira in the current school board race.

Not all of the four at large candidates not endorsed by Democrats for Education Reform/Stand For Children, i.e. John Daniel, Frank E. Deserino, Roger Kilgore, and Jacqueline Carole Shumway necessarily line up neatly with one faction or the other, although the DCTA will probably endorse one of them before the dust settles.

Frank Deserino, a South High School teacher was an unsuccessful candidates in the 2007 school board race for District 1 where he came in third out of three candidates with 12% of the vote (outgoing director Bruce L. Hoyt won that race with 65% of the vote).

Roger Kilgore, a Park Hill water engineer, sought the endorsement of Democrats for Education Reform and was given honorable mention by them in connection with its endorsement of Happy Haynes.

Jacqui Shumway, an unsuccessful candidate in the 2009 school board election, is "a physical fitness advocate and co-founder of the Tai Chi Project." She came in 4th place out of 5 candidates in 2009 with 11% of the vote in the seat won by Nate Easely in the 4th District.

Baker neighborhood resident John Daniel's "political background includes pushing for the now-repealed Initiative 100, which impounded the cars of undocumented immigrants," which was widely opposed by almost everyone in Denver's political establishment and city administration. He doesn't seem to have a website at this point. He wants to slash the DPS administrative budget by 10% to pay for more teachers.


Dave Barnes said...

"Frank Deserino, a South High School teacher"

Isn't this like the fox guarding the hen house?

Anonymous said...

Your link for "Arturo Jimenez" doesn't work.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

I'd love to have someone provide the correct link for him.

Matt said...