May 8, 2023 - Politics

Kwame Spearman to run for at-large seat on Denver school board

Kwame Spearman. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Kwame Spearman is campaigning for public office again.

What's happening: The former owner of the Tattered Cover Book Store on Monday threw his hat in the ring for an at-large seat on the embattled Denver school board this November. Spearman recently ran for Denver mayor, but dropped out in March.

  • He cast himself as a moderate in the mayor's race and is expected to do the same in the new contest, setting up a contrast with challenger Auon'tai Anderson, one of the most outspoken and high-profile members running for reelection.

Why it matters: Denver's school board has a huge say over what happens in the classroom, from what's included in the budget and what's covered in the curriculum to how the superintendent is managed.

Details: Spearman is centering his campaign on improving students' mental health, boosting academic performance and bolstering school safety — which he says is his top concern.

  • "Parents and students don't feel safe right now. We're hearing that loud and clear from all across the district," he tells Axios Denver.

Between the lines: Denver's school board has been criticized in recent years for dysfunction between members and clashes that some argue come at a cost to kids — a problem Spearman aims to tackle.

  • "Right now, the way in which the school board is disagreeing isn't actually focused on meritorious arguments. It's focused on politics and perceptions and not being cordial with one another," he says. "I want to help change that."

Catch up quick: The board has seven members, two of which represent the entire district, and five who speak for specific regions.

  • Members make $9,000 a year and serve staggered, four-year terms — which is why just one of the two at-large seats is up this year.

What we're watching: Who else announces a bid for Anderson's seat ahead of the Nov. 7 election. Fireworks in this election are all but guaranteed, Westword reports.


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