Two Denver legislators want limits on donations to school-board candidates

Two Denver lawmakers want to place campaign donation limits on school board candidates.

Rep. Elizabeth McCann and Lois Court, both Democrats, say that even though school board members aren’t paid, too much money has been going into electing people to these nonpartisan offices in recent years.

The two lawmakers said it makes little sense to allow unlimited campaign spending to boards with members that don’t get paid to serve.

Their measure, HB1067, would limit individual donors to giving no more than $500 to a candidate in a race. Small donor committees would be allowed to give up to $5,000.

Currently, only races for state offices, including the Legislature, district attorneys and the Colorado State Board of Education are subjected to contribution limits.

Arturo Jimenez, a member of the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, told the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on Thursday that contributions to school board candidates have gotten so large, primarily from partisan donors, that it’s turning qualified candidates away from running.

“It was a good choice that we have nonpartisan school board races under the state Constitution to keep those kinds of politics out,” he said. “Well, now we’ve seen that politics have crept into it, and we need to re-establish that balance and encourage ... parents and community members who don’t have political connections or don’t have major money resources to have a voice in their children’s education.”

Several Republicans on the GOP-controlled panel, however, questioned whether it would do any good.


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