Finance Reports Shed Light on Denver School-board Race

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finance reports filed Monday by committees involved in the Nov. 1 election show that the Denver teachers union has spent $88,500 on two Denver school-board candidates.

Of that, $42,000 was poured into a new group, Delta 4.0, which has paid for fliers in northwest and southeast Denver.

The investment was not a risky gamble, officials for the Denver Classroom Teachers Association said.

The two candidates endorsed by the union — Arturo Jimenez, running for re-election in northwest Denver's District 5, and Emily Sirota, running for a seat in District 1, in southeast Denver — will reinvigorate community engagement and education reform in the district, the union leaders say.

"You get much better and stronger reform in education when teachers are allowed to be as much a part of the process as CEOs and teachers unions," said Henry Roman, the teachers-association executive director. "Emily and Arturo are running for community engagement."

Roman pointed to the involvement of Sirota's opponent, Anne Rowe, in A-Plus Denver during discussions of changes in far northeast Denver.

"It was not a perfect process," he said.

Rowe, too, has said the process leading up to major reforms in the troubled Denver Public Schools region was not perfect but also said her experience working with communities can be built on.

"Everyone talks about community engagement," Rowe said, "but I've actually done it for the past 15 years."

Her involvement in education started when she organized with parents to open Slavens K-8 school in southeast Denver. She also worked to create a parent group at George Washington High School.

Roman also said the union was pleased to hear Sirota's plan to slow reforms in DPS in order to evaluate which are successful and which are not.

Jimenez, they said, is also considerate of each vote.

"Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast," Roman said. "The challenge is when we make decisions too quick, we run the risk of making bad decisions."

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