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The last word on Douglas County election money

The winning Douglas County school board candidates raised and spent nearly three times as much money on the election as their opponents, according to final campaign finance filings reported on Thursday.

The Dougco school board election drew national attention, including funding from the national teachers’ union and conservative politicians.

The successful slate of candidates, who supported the current board actions, received considerable donations from voucher proponents Alex Cranberg and Ralph Nagel. They also received smaller donations from former Florida governor and potential 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush.

In recent years, Dougco schools have seen considerable change, including a vouchers program that is still in legal limbo, the proliferation of charter schools and the establishment of teacher pay tied to a new evaluation system.

The school board has faced challenges to these initiatives and accusations of opaque political dealings. However, the slate of successful candidates supported the district’s current direction and included two incumbents Meghann Silverthorn and Doug Benevento.

Their opponents, a slate that billed itself as Dougco Candidates for Kids, ran on a platform of change and called for increased transparency in board dealings. None of the candidates who opposed the district’s current direction won positions on the school board.

Here’s a rundown of the final campaign filings for the Dougco candidates:

District B

  • Barbra Chase – Raised $10,970, the least of any candidate in the election. Chase spent $10,909.
  • Jim Geddes (winner) – No filing as of press time.

District D

  • Julie Keim – Raised $11,442, including $280 in the final reporting period. She spent her entire fund balance.
  • Judith Reynolds (winner) – Raised $40,647, the least of any successful candidate as of press time. She spent $38,873.

District E

  • Doug Benevento (winner) – Raised $44,092, the most of any candidate in the election. He spent $39,909.
  • Bill Hodges – Raised $15,764 and spent $15,822, leaving him with $58 owed.

District G

  • Ronda Scholting – Raised $20,552, the most of any unsuccessful candidate in the election. She spent all of her funds, $20,552.
  • Meghann Silverthorn (winner) – Raised $40,873 and spent $37,876.

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