District 51 a high-spending campaign

With $54,162.55 collected so far, Mesa County Valley School District 51 is fourth in the state for total monetary contributions given to school board candidates in the Nov. 5 school board election, according to Secretary of State records.

Denver Public School Board candidates received the most money as of Oct. 27, according to campaign filings due statewide Friday. The nine candidates in that race received a total of $744,117.46, with collections ranging from no outside contributions to candidate Joan Poston to $191,299 for former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien. Big donors in the Denver Public Schools race include University of Colorado President Bruce Benson, who donated $10,000 apiece to four candidates; and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association Fund, which spread just over $82,000 in monetary contributions among four candidates: Rosario De Baca, Michael Kiley, Roger Kilgore and Meg Schomp.

Douglas County and Jefferson County school board races are in second and third place, respectively, in campaign cash collections, with Douglas County’s 10 candidates raking in $221,562.81 and Jefferson County’s six candidates collecting $139,352.51.

Breaking ahead of their opponents in Douglas County, each with more than $40,000 in contributions, are conservative reform candidates Doug Benevento, James Geddes, Judi Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn, all of whom have received $10,000 from Ralph Nagel and $25,000 from Alex Cranberg, businessmen who co-founded a private school scholarship fund for low-income students, ACE Scholarships, with four other people, including Greenwood Village billionaire C. Edward McVaney.

McVaney has contributed $5,000 each to three District 51 candidates and Nagel has spent $2,000 on the same candidates: Pat Kanda, Mike Lowenstein and John Sluder. Kanda, Lowenstein and Sluder have now raised $7344, $9,143 and $8,108, respectively, in monetary contributions as of Oct. 27.

Incumbent District 51 candidates John Williams and Greg Mikolai have raised $10,517.57 and $8,627.99, respectively, in monetary contributions as of Oct. 27. Candidate Tom Parrish has raised $10,421.99 before non-monetary contributions. Candidate Lonnie White has not reported any campaign contributions.

Mikolai and Parrish’s largest donor was District 51 teachers union Mesa Valley Education Association, which gave them each $3,000. Denver-based Public Education Committee was the largest single contributor for Williams at $500. Williams has 109 donors, Parrish has 105, Mikolai has 54, Lowenstein has 38, Sluder has 22 and Kanda has 10. Lowenstein, Parrish and Sluder have an unknown number of additional donors whose names are not reported because they donated less than $20 each.


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