Big money flows into school board races in Denver and elsewhere in Colorado
The heightened attention on local school board contests means more spending by candidates and more money from outside special interests.
By the numbers: In 20 competitive districts across the state, candidates and committees are expected to spend at least $3.4 million, based on the latest reports.
- For candidates, the $1.9 million in contributions is 55% more than in 2017, according to a Colorado Sun analysis. Another $1.5 million in spending came from independent political groups.
- In Denver's four races, spending topped $1 million alone, according to Chalkbeat, our education reporting partner, but so far it remains below the $2.8 million high-water mark from the 2019 election.
State of play: The spending breaks down into two main camps: Teachers unions and their allies against reform-minded advocates and conservative groups.
- In Denver and Aurora, education reform organizations are outspending the teachers union, but in Jefferson County it's the opposite, Chalkbeat reports.
The big spenders: The top individual spender in 10 competitive districts is Students Deserve Better, a teachers union committee, at $354,000, the Colorado Sun found.
Yes, but: A handful of education reform and pro-charter school groups — including Parents for Great Schools, the league of charter schools and Raising Colorado — are combining to spend more than $1 million.
Of note: A bill to limit individual contributions to school board candidates at $2,500 failed in the state Legislature, but it's expected to reemerge in the 2022 session.
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