Nov 7, 2023 - Politics

Denver school board election results roll in, with John Youngquist declaring victory in at-large race

Data: Denver Elections Division; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios
Data: Denver Elections Division; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

Preliminary results in Denver's school board race show candidates backed by the teachers union have been defeated, according to unofficial figures from the Denver Elections Division.

Why it matters: The outcome of the race — one that's drawn more than $1 million in campaign spending — will set the tone for local discussions about education in Denver for years to come, from school safety to declining enrollment.

  • The troubled school board is currently controlled by a majority of union-backed members.

State of play: For the open, at-large seat, former Tattered Cover CEO Kwame Spearman — who's backed by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association — stood at 27% compared to 62% for challenger John Youngquist, a former principal endorsed by Denver Families Action, an education reform organization.

  • In District 1, incumbent and union-backed Scott Baldermann was down with 44% of the vote compared to Kimberlee Sia's 56%.
  • In District 5, incumbent and union pick Charmaine Lindsay was losing to Marlene De La Rosa, 24% to 59%, respectively.

What they're saying: Youngquist declared victory in the at-large race Tuesday night after Spearman conceded.

  • "Winning this race reaffirms my understanding that our community is determined to have a school board that will work together to ensure that every child has a safe, motivating, effective learning experience," he said in a statement.

Of note: Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has endorsed all three reform-minded challengers — Youngquist, Sia, and De La Rosa.

Between the lines: Paul Ballenger dropped out of the at-large race in October, but his name still appeared on the ballot.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include results from the latest ballot results and a quote from John Youngquist.


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