clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

War chests bulk up in district campaigns

Supporters of the proposed Jefferson County Schools tax increases have raised more than $145,000 for their campaign to pass measures 3A and 3B, far outpacing the $5,145 raised by an opposition group.

But a group supporting Cherry Creek’s proposed tax hike has raised even more, $157,414, and doesn’t face organized opposition.

And in Aurora, the group supporting that district’s tax proposal, Aurora Citizens for Excellent Schools, raised more than $121,000.

The two Jeffco groups, Citizens for Jeffco Schools and No on 3A/3B, as well as Citizens for Cherry Creek Schools and the Aurora committee all filed campaign finance reports with the secretary of state’s office ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for committees involved in school district elections.

The Jeffco school district is asking voters to approve a $99 million bond issue and a $39 million operating revenue increase. Cherry Creek is seeking a $125 million bond and a $25 million operating increase. Aurora is seeking an operating increase of $15 million.

The campaign committee supporting Denver’s proposed tax measures didn’t file its full report early. But preliminary documents, called major contribution reports, submitted recently give an indication of the money being raised.

Together for Denver’s Schools reported major contributions of $96,000. Larger donors included PCL Construction at $5,000, CDL Homes of Westminster with $10,000, Infinity Communities of Greenwood Village at $5,000, the Texas-based Weekley Group of Companies at $10,000, KB Homes with $10,000 and New Town Builders of Denver at $10,000.

Also, oilman Ron Williams gave $10,000 and Bernadette Marquez donated $25,000. Williams is chair and CEO of the Gary-Williams Co., the major funder of the Piton Foundation, which in turn is a significant contributor to education initiatives. Marquez, along with her husband, Timothy, have their own foundation and have been major donors to educational causes, including the Denver Scholarship Foundation.

In the last 30 days before an election, campaign committees are required to file major contribution reports on gifts of $1,000 or more within 24 hours of receipt.

Denver voters will decide a $466 million bond and a $49 million operating increase.

Jeffco fundraising

Citizens for Jeffco Schools reported raising $145,102 and having $48,656 remaining in its bank account for the reporting period that covered July 22 through Oct. 10. Most of the group’s $66,934 in spending was on printing and mailing costs.

The Jefferson County Education Association donated $30,000, and the JCEA’s parent union, the Colorado Education Association, gave $7,000. The campaign committee also received $5,000 from the Jefferson Foundation and $4,000 from Haselden Construction. The Jefferson County Administrators’ Association gave $2,351.50. (A larger JCAA amount recorded in Department of State records is incorrect.)

During the previous reporting period, which ran from June 18 to July 21, Citizens for Jeffco Schools received $20,000 from Robert W. Baird & Co. of Milwaukee, Wisc., the district’s investment banker and $15,000 from FirstBank Holding Co. of Lakewood.

The Jeffco opposition group, No on 3A/3B, received only one large contribution, $5,000 from Frank Bannister, president of Western Oil and Gas Development in Oklahoma City.

Details on Cherry Creek

Citizens for Cherry Creek Schools’ total fundraising is $157,414, and the group had $61,553 remaining in the bank. The bulk of its spending has been on mailing costs and consultant MIDG Group of Denver.

The Cherry Creek Administrators’ Association donated $8,000 and the CEA contributed $6,000. Larger corporate contributions include $5,000 from Adolfson and Peterson, a construction firm that works with many school districts; $5,000 from South Quincy Residential Developers; $10,000 from MDC Holdings; and $5,000 from Meritage Homes. The committee also received contributions from several architectural firms and donations from nearly two dozen school parent-teacher organizations in the district.

Sources of support in Aurora

Aurora Citizens for Excellent Schools has raised $121,587 and has $66,507 on hand. Most of the $55,079 spent in the most recent period was for campaign consulting.

Major contributions include $42,000 from the Aurora Public Schools Education Foundation, $2,000 from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, $10,000 from RB Capital Markets, $3,000 from CEA, $10,000 from Benson Mineral Group, $5,000 from Stapleton developer Forest City Enterprises and $10,000 from Daniel Ritchie, CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and a well-known figure in education circles.

Around the state

The four large metro-area districts are among 30 Colorado school districts seeking voter approval this year for a combined total of about $1.03 billion in bond issues and property tax increases for operating expenses.

About $664 of the total is accounted for by the Denver and Jefferson County proposals.

Twenty-one districts have proposed bond issues, with 14 of those are to raise local matches for state construction grants. Fifteen districts are seeking increases for operating funds. Seven districts are seeking both.

Nov. 2 is the next reporting deadline for campaign committees involved in district tax elections.

Other campaign finance reports

Monday was the reporting deadline for legislative candidates and the political committees that contribute to them.

There was modest activity reported in the latest period by the education-related groups that EdNews has been tracking this election season.

The JCEA Small Donor Committee gave $2,500 to the House Majority Project, a Democratic Party group, and $2,000 to Democratic Rep. Max Tyler in District 28, one of several battleground races in Jefferson County this year. He also received $2,250 from the Public Education Committee, the CEA’s main political arm. It was the group’s only candidate contribution during the latest reporting period.

The St. Vrain Valley Education Association Small Donor Committee contributed $1,000 each to House candidates Daniel Kagan, Deb Primavera, Jonathan Singer, Matt Jones and Mike Foote and to Senate hopefuls Andy Kerr and Evie Hudak. Contributions of $500 each went to House candidates Cherilyn Peniston and Dave Young and to Senate contender Crestina Martinez. All are Democrats.

Disclosure: The Piton Foundation is a funder of Education News Colorado.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Connect with your community

Find upcoming Colorado events

Sign up for the newsletter Chalkbeat Colorado

Sign up for our newsletter.