School Board candidates spent $58,000
The final cost of the School District 51 election, as measured by candidate campaign spending, is $58,083.94 — more than seven times larger than the previous District 51 school board campaign spending record set in 2009.
The winning candidates in the race, Greg Mikolai in District E, Tom Parrish in District D and John Williams in District C, all outspent their individual opponents.
Mikolai spent $8,861.76 to challenger John Sluder’s $7,907.97 and Parrish spent $12,367.99 to challenger Mike Lowenstein’s $9,155.23.
In District C, Williams spent the most of any candidate, $12,446.99, while opponents Pat Kanda and Lonnie White spent the least of all candidates: $7,344 for Kanda and zero dollars for White.
Williams, Parrish and Mikolai’s largest combined donor was local teachers union Mesa Valley Education Association, which, plus in-kind donations, gave a total of $7,000 to the candidates, accounting for 21 percent of the trio’s contributions. Eighty-six percent of campaign contributions to Kanda, Lowenstein and Sluder came from Front Range conservative school board candidate-backers and businessmen C. Edward McVaney and Ralph Nagel.
Thursday was the deadline for the final campaign finance reports for the Nov. 5 election cycle. The reports listed only expenditures and contributions made from Oct. 28 to Nov. 30.
Only Mikolai and Sluder had a balance in their campaign funds at the end of November: $886.64 for Mikolai and $200.03 for Sluder.
Colorado campaign finance rules require inactive candidates to empty their campaign accounts and terminate their campaign committees, but they can take up to nine years to empty those accounts.
Money not spent on campaign expenses or re-paying loans can be donated to a political party, charitable organization, campaign contributors, or transferred by the candidate to be used in a future campaign for the same office or a different post.
Kanda donated his campaign balance of $70.46 to HopeWest and Hospice, and Parrish gave $542.03 to Kids Voting Mesa County.
Parrish and Williams gave $42 each to the Colorado Democratic Party, but that was for research, according to Parrish’s report, not a donation.
Reports also show Kanda spent $2,331.73 before the election on mailing and postage services from Centennial-based Letters Plus, Parrish spent $51 for online services, and Mikolai spent $100 on radio advertising a week before the election.
Lowenstein, whose only contribution on the Dec. 5 report was $12.23 to reimburse himself for expenses, spent $1,816 on radio ads; $156 on bank fees, a banner and business cards; $24 for gas; and $67.67 to reimburse himself for website expenses.
Williams listed nearly $3,000 in expenditures between Oct. 28 and Nov. 19, including $941 for advertising services from Marketing Masters of Western Colorado and $1,696 for consulting services from Grand Junction resident Lisa Smith.
In addition to $400 in campaign contributions from three people, Williams’ Dec. 5 report includes a $1,000 donation from Mesa Valley Education Association.
Association President Darren Cook said the donation was given to help pay Smith at his suggestion because she had at that time volunteered all of her services.
Parrish listed a single $51 contribution from the Mesa Valley Education Association for an in-kind donation of postage.
Mikolai and Williams listed the in-kind postage donation on their reports as well. Mikolai also listed $450 in contributions from Mesa County donors, including $50 from Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster.
Kanda listed no contributions in the Dec. 5 report and Sluder listed no expenses or contributions on his report.