Republicans’ school board slate unveiled

Photos by CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—District 51 School Board candidates Mike Lowenstein, above, John Sluder, below, and Pat Kanda, bottom, were invited to an event in Grand Junction on Sunday that was hosted by Mesa County Republican Women. Lowenstein, Sluder and Kanda have the backing of the organization, its president said. Four other candidates are running for the three board seats, which are up for election in November.

Three of the seven District 51 School Board candidates introduced themselves at a public event for the first time since officially becoming candidates Sunday afternoon at a Mesa County Republican Women ice cream social in Lincoln Park.

The candidates, Pat Kanda in District C, Mike Lowenstein in District D and John Sluder in District E, were invited to the event because they comprise the slate of candidates being backed by the local Republican Party in the Nov. 5 school board election, according to Mesa County Republican Women President Linda Gregory. Gregory told the group of about 50 women and supporters gathered under a park shelter that a subgroup spent two hours interviewing the candidates.

“We were very impressed. We hope you are as impressed,” she said.

Kanda, Lowenstein and Sluder offered brief opening and closing remarks and rotated between three sets of attendees to answer questions. Sluder, who will face current School Board President Greg Mikolai in District E, said he wants to see the school district spend no more than the bare minimum to comply with unfunded federal mandates. He also asked the crowd if they thought there was local control of schools here, if instructors are teaching skills needed for the 21st century, and “if we throw another billion dollars at our education system that it’s going to improve overnight?” to which the crowd responded no.

“For me those same answers are no. That’s why I’m running for the school board,” Sluder said.

Lowenstein said he is running for school board to improve local education. He told one of the groups during the question and answer session that his opponent in District D, former District 51 director of elementary schools Tom Parrish, will likely campaign on his 29 years of experience in the district.

“I’m really not interested in what happened. I’m interested in making great things happen,” he said, adding that includes looking over how money is spent in the district budget.

Kanda, who is running against Lonnie White and newly-appointed board member John Williams in District C, said he is unsure about the effectiveness of having English as a second language programming in local schools and he believes sports fees aren’t covering as many costs as they should.

“Students in Cherry Creek pay much more,” he said, adding that isn’t often much of a strain on affluent parents in that district.

The school board race is a non-partisan. However, Lowenstein and Sluder selected “Republican” under “party” on their candidate affidavits and Parrish selected “Democrat.” Kanda, Mikolai, White, and Williams each selected “non-partisan.”


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A new low by Grand valley republicans in politicizing education through school board elections.  Gives me a great reason to vote for anybody not associated with a political party.  I would say the same thing had it been the democratic women’s club of Mesa county with direction from the Democratic Party!  Oh wait, they have enough common sense to not organize such an event.

It’s ashame the 3 candidates attended such an event as well.

There are many questions that should be asked at this point. First why are the Republicans promoting candidates in a non-partisan race? Second, and this is really subtle… Secretary of State Scott Gessler changed the campaign finance rules exempting groups like the Republican Women from reporting their income and expenses because they are not working to elect candidates. (His analysis, not mine.) If they are not working to elect candidates, I’ll eat my shoe. This looks like a violation of campaign finance rules to me. How much did these women spend on this event? Where did their money come from? Why are they not reporting their activities to the Secretary of State?

Here is a link to the Campaign Finance Rules:

Kanda’s Cherry Creek statement is out of left field.  Does he really know where he is living?  Mesa County has lagged severely in economic recovery in relation to the rest of the state. This county has been listed as one of the best places to retire in the nation.  Why would anyone want to retire here in this severely economically depressed area?  One huge reason is this county has successfully kept the cost of education down.  Cost containment is a noble goal, but this county is in the bottom 10% of the state. Cost containment is not the goal…effective use of the tax dollar is a better goal. CONTINUOUS voting down of school levies in this county is a retirement goal not good for our children. Since most retirees are Republicans, all I can say to my fellow Republicans is STOP BEING SO SELFISH….these may not be your direct grandkids but they are every ones future. Do right by them, as our grandparents did for us.

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