A conservative Republican former member of Colorado’s State Board of Education is part of a slate of four candidates running for the Douglas County school board.
Debora Scheffel, who narrowly lost her re-election bid to the state board last fall, announced her candidacy in a joint release with the other candidates.
The Douglas County school board race will be one of the most closely watched in the state this year. With four of the board’s seven seats up, the direction of Colorado’s third largest school district is on the line.
All four seats in play this year are held by members of the board’s conservative faction. So far, none of the incumbents has filed paperwork indicating an intent to run.
In 2015, three insurgent candidates running against the conservative board’s reform efforts — including a controversial private-school voucher program — won seats.
Since the Douglas County school board’s ideology split in 2015, the district has been in a constant state of conflict. Scheffel’s slate, in its release, said it hopes to calm the acrimony.
“Students are impacted for life by what happens in school,” Scheffel said in the release. “I am running to ensure that Douglas County can return its focus to providing an excellent education for students of all levels throughout our district.”
Scheffel’s three running mates are Randy Mills, an electrician; Grant Nelson, a commercial real estate developer; and Ryan Abresch, a legal analyst. All three men either had or have students enrolled in Douglas County schools.
Two other Douglas County residents have filed paperwork to run for school board: Krista Holtzmann and Kevin Leung. Neither was immediately available for comment Friday.
Leung is a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board before. He declined an endorsement from the Douglas County Republican Party, saying that he believed school board elections should be nonpartisan and “not be drawn into party politics.”