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With no competition, Westminster cancels its school board election

Students work on an English assignment at M. Scott Carpenter Middle School in Westminster.
Students work on an English assignment at M. Scott Carpenter Middle School in Westminster.
Nic Garcia/Chalkbeat

Competitive school board races are shaping up around the Denver metro area, but in some districts, voters won’t be weighing in — because there is nothing to decide.

Westminster Public Schools on Tuesday canceled its Nov. 5 school board election after just three people filed to run for three open seats.

Also canceling their school board elections due to lack of competition: the St. Vrain and Thompson school districts in northern Colorado.

In Westminster, incumbents Ken Ciancio and Max Math both will continue to serve. Christine Martinez, a parent in the district, will fill the seat currently held by Larry Dean Valente, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

No other candidates filed petitions to appear on the ballot or filed affidavits to run as write-in candidates.

Canceling the election will save $35,000, the district said.

After years of low performance, the Westminster district got off a state watchlist for struggling schools and districts last year. District officials saw the improvements as validation for the competency-based learning model, in use in Westminster schools for the past decade. Students aren’t placed in a class based on their age and corresponding grade level. Instead, students are grouped by their understanding of a certain subject, and can progress to another level as soon as they show that they’ve mastered that class content.

Westminster voters narrowly approved a $9.9 million tax increase last year, the first successful mill levy override in the district since 2002. That money went into teacher raises in a new contract approved last spring.

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