Error puts pro-bond group $22K in the red

A reporting error in campaign finance reports to the Colorado Secretary of State briefly put the pro-school bond group Friends of District 51 in the red more than $22,000.

In filing reports for the month of September, filed Oct. 14, Friends of District 51 reported it was in debt $22,230 with expended dollars outpacing contributions by about 6 to 1. The largest expenditures, each totaling more than $10,000, went for campaign mailer postage, which was organized by bond-underwriting company George K. Baum & Co.

“That was me. I take full responsibility for that,” said Amy Rogers, treasurer for Friends of District 51, of the filing error.

Rogers said she did not know that major contributions, classified as contributions totaling $1,000 or more, had to be entered twice. Major contributions must be filed under “major contributions” and “contributions” for them to show up on filing reports, according to the secretary of state.

Rogers filed an adjustment with the state two days later.

Friends of District 51 has received a number of major contributions, Rogers said, including $7,000 from the Mesa Valley Education Association, the local teachers’ union; $5,000 from FCI Constructors; and $3,000 from the Colorado Education Association, the umbrella teachers’ union for the state.

Rogers said the group had hoped to raise $77,000 to $110,000 to finance a successful campaign, but thus far Friends of District 51 has spent about $30,000. Most of that money paid for direct mailings and yard signs, Rogers said.

George K. Baum & Co. has been operating as a political consultant for Friends of District 51 during the campaign, Rogers said, and organizes postage for the group.

The company handled the sale of the $109 million bond in 2004 for the district and will be tapped again if voters pass a $185 million bond Tuesday.

The bond package would fund the construction of two new high schools, two elementary schools and replace Orchard Mesa Middle School.


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