This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
As has been typical in recent school board elections in Jeffco, union-backed candidates are outspending opposing conservative candidates.
To date, the seven candidates have reported a collective total of about $255,000 in contributions, but only about $30,000 of that is for the conservative slate of Theresa Shelton, Kathy Miks, and Jeffrey Wilhite, which is against many union issues. The union slate of Paula Reed, Danielle Varda, and Mary Parker has received $224,796 collectively. David Johnson has only raised $200.
In addition, the union slate is benefiting from at least $36,708.72 spent by Students Deserve Better, which has raised $384,000 from teachers union groups to support races across the state.
Students Deserve Better, which is funded by Colorado teachers unions, is the only committee that has reported outside spending on the Jeffco race. Outside spending is when independent committees can spend as much as they want but can’t coordinate with candidates
Some teacher union dollars have also gone directly to the individual candidate’s campaigns. The campaign money that has been spent to date in Jeffco has largely gone to mailers, text messages, and online advertising.
Jeffco Public Schools is the second largest school district in Colorado, serving about 80,000 students. Three of its five school board seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 2 election, meaning the majority of the board could shift.