Three seats are up for grabs on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education this November -- and the list of candidates vying for them is growing. As of today, seven candidates have announced that they're running, including incumbent Arturo Jimenez, who represents northwest Denver. The election is an important one for DPS: The outcome could change the balance of the already-divided board.
For more on the board's divide, check out our feature, "Rule Breaker," on board member Andrea Merida, an outspoken member of the seven-member board's three-member minority. Unlike the majority, the minority tends to disagree with DPS administration when it comes to school reform.
Jimenez often votes with the minority. As for how the election will impact the board's dynamics, he says he's staying out of the debate. "Our communities don't want us to get involved in power struggles," he says. "They want us to focus on serving kids." Jimenez will kick off his campaign tomorrow night at at 6 p.m. at Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe.
As of today, he has one challenger: Jennifer Draper Carson, an active mother from northwest Denver who serves as chairwoman of North High School's Collaborative School Committee. Recently, Draper Carson called for a third-party investigation into North High's credit recovery program after Westword reported problems within the program. (Jimenez also responded to the allegations by convening a committee to look into them.)
In southeast Denver, two candidates are running for the seat that will be vacated by board member Bruce Hoyt. Emily Lipp Sirota is the wife of AM 760 radio host and author David Sirota. She has experience in politics, according to her website, and works as a policy analyst for non-profits. Her opponent, Anne Rowe, is a businesswoman, mother of three DPS students and founding co-chair of pro-reform organization A+ Denver.
The board's at-large seat, which will be vacated by board member Theresa Pena, has attracted the most interest thus far. The candidates include business consultant Roger Kilgore, South High School history teacher Frank Deserino, who has run before, and Allegra "Happy" Haynes, a former Denver city council president and DPS employee.
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Education News Colorado ran a story today in which Draper Carson, Rowe and Haynes deny running as a slate, as was implied by an invitation to a fundraiser to benefit all three.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the election. On August 3, the candidates can begin circulating petitions to earn a spot on the November 1 ballot. To do so, they must gather fifty valid signatures by August 26 and turn them into the Denver Elections Division.
More from our Education archives: "North High: How many seniors graduated from school that used credit recovery courses?"