Election Data Center 2010

The 2010 elections have ended with good news for education on the financial front, a business-oriented Democratic governor, a brand new look for the legislature and apparent stability on the State Board of Education and the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

The highlights were defeat of tax-cutting amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 and voter support in many districts for bond issues and tax override proposals.

The outlook for education and budget issues at the Capitol won’t become clearer until new Gov. John Hickenlooper and new legislative leaders, especially majority Republicans in the House, start fleshing out their programs.

Parts of this section contains background material prepared before the election. Use these links to jump to sections of interest to you:

Governor | Ballot measures | Bonds & Overrides | State Board of Education | CU Regents | Legislature

Recent EdNews stories

Voters say yes to districts

Nov. 5 – Despite the lingering recession and mid-term malaise, voters mostly said yes to school district tax increases this year. Read story

Education panels still up in the air

Nov. 4 – Legislative party caucuses have picked their leaders for the 2011 session, but the composition of the House and Senate education committees is still up in the air. Read story

Stability for SBE, Regents

Nov. 3 – Democratic incumbent Angelika Schroeder won election to the State Board of Education, and CU Regent incumbent Steve Bosley overcame a strong challenger to keep his seat. Read story

SBE races fly under the political radar

Oct. 28 – If history, voter registration and fund raising are any indications, the State Board of Education after Tuesday’s election will look similar to the board that’s been operating for the last two years.. Read story

Spending goes down to the wire

Oct. 19 – With the 2010 election two weeks away, the peak of the campaign fund raising season has passed, but there still were some interesting developments in the latest contribution and spending filings, including in a State Board of Education race. Read story

Related stories on campaign fund raising:

School districts test voters’ mood

Oct. 5 – Despite the fragile economy and perceived voter grumpiness about taxes, 33 Colorado school districts are seeking tax increases in this election, for construction bonds, operating revenue or to provide Amendment 61 escape hatches. Read story

Politics makes changing bedfellows

Sept. 28 – The Colorado Education Association may be the 800-pound education group in Colorado politics, but that doesn’t mean other interest groups aren’t trying to weigh in on 2010 legislative races. To get a sense for who’s supporting whom, Education News Colorado reviewed legislative candidate contributions by the CEA-affiliated Public Education Committee and the AFT Colorado Federation of Teachers, School, Health and Public Employees Small Donor Committee, along with endorsements or contributions by three other groups. Read story, charts

Hickenlooper unveils education agenda

Joe Garcia and John Hickenlooper
Joe Garcia (left) and John Hickenlooper.

Aug. 30 – School funding will remain tight, Democrat John Hickenlooper warned Monday as he unveiled his plans for education if he’s elected governor.

“We’re not going to throw money at the problem,” the Denver mayor said during a news conference at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton with running mate Joe Garcia, president of Colorado State University-Pueblo.

“There is no appetite” among the public for new taxes, Hickenlooper said. Read story, with video

News from other sources

Guide to candidates and measures

Colorado state flag


• John Hickenlooper (D)
Education policy statement

• Don Maes (R)
Education policy statement (middle of page)

• Tom Tancredo (American Constitution)
General issues page, including link to video on homeschooling

Proposed state amendments

Amendment 60 – The constitutional amendment would require school districts to halve their property tax rates by 2020, not including taxes levied for debt, such as bond issues. The state would be required to cover the lost revenue.

Future property tax rate increases would expire after 10 years, and extension would be subject to voter approval. Recent actions such as the 2007 property tax “freeze” would be repealed.

It also would allow citizen-initiated measures to reduce property taxes, allow property owners to vote on tax issues even if they aren’t residents of a jurisdiction and impose property taxes on government enterprises and authorities.

Amendment 61 – The constitutional amendment would ban all forms of borrowing by state government, including certificates of participation. All local government borrowing would have to be approved by voters, new debt would have to be repaid within 10 years and taxes would have to be reduced after a debt is repaid.

Proposition 101 – The proposed change to state law would, over time, reduce specific ownership taxes on vehicles to $2 for new vehicles and $1 for used ones, limit title and license fees to $10 a year and abolish taxes on vehicle rentals and leases.

The state income tax rate would be reduced from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent over several years, and telecommunications taxes, except for a 911 fee, would be abolished.

Pro: The measures are backed by a low-profile group of anti-tax activists including Natalie Menten of Lakewood, who maintains a website that tracks alleged government waste, and Douglas Campbell, who has run unsuccessfully for several state offices as an American Constitution Party candidate. Campbell once worked as an aide to TABOR author Doug Bruce when Bruce was a state representative. Website

Con: Coloradans for Responsible Reform, a coalition of business and civic groups, is opposing the measures. Several local governments, school boards and other education boards are formally opposing the three proposals. Website

School district ballot measures

More than 30 Colorado schools districts this fall are proposing bond issues, mill levy overrides of Amendment 61-related ballot measures. Get the details in this story, including a link to the full list. Here’s a list of some of the major proposals:

  • Aspen – $1.2 million override
  • Boulder Valley – $22.5 million override
  • Brighton – $3.2 million override
  • Durango – $3.2 million override
  • Falcon – $125 million bond
  • Littleton – $12 million override
  • Mapleton – $32 million bond issue (match for $32 million BEST grant)
  • Poudre – $16 million override, $120 million bond
  • Salida – $17.9 million bond issue (match for $12.5 million BEST grant)
Colorado Department of Education

State Board of Education

(See story about these races.)

District 2

District 5

District 6

University of Colorado Board of Regents


District 1

District 4


Races listed include those where an incumbent serves on the House or Senate education committee and those where a candidate has an education background, such as teaching or school board service. If a candidate’s name isn’t linked, it means we couldn’t find a website.

State Senate

District 31 (southeast Denver)

District 32 (east Denver)

District 33 (northwest Denver)

District 34 (northeast Denver)

  • Michael Johnston (D, appointed incumbent, education committee member)
  • Lisa Ringle (R)

State House

District 16 (El Paso County)

  • Larry Liston (R, incumbent)
  • Janet Tanner (D, District 11 board member)

District 22 (Jefferson County)

District 24 (Jefferson County)

District 29 (Jefferson County)

District 30 (Adams County)

District 31 (Adams County)

  • Tom Janich (R, former Brighton board member)
  • Judy Solano (D, incumbent and education committee vice chair)

District 35 (Jefferson County)

District 41 (Arapahoe County/Aurora)

House 43 (Douglas County/Highlands Ranch)

District 45 (Douglas County)

  • Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock and an education committee member, is unopposed.

District 47 (Pueblo County)

District 49 (Larimer County)

District 51 (Larimer County)

District 56 (Eagle, Lake and Summit counties)

District 60 (South-central mountains from Park to Custer counties)

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.