Aurora school board election results: Union-backed candidates win three seats

A teacher wearing a grey shirt talks with one of several students sitting at a desk in a classroom. There is a whiteboard, projected screen and a large world map on the wall in the background.
Cindy Simcox, center, teaches her seventh grade social studies class at Mrachek Middle School on August 19, 2016, in Aurora, Colorado. (Anya Semenoff / Denver Post / Getty Images)

Three Aurora school board candidates backed by the teachers union have won seats on the board.

Five candidates ran for the three seats: charter school coach and substitute teacher Max Garcia; incumbent and former special educator Vicki Reinhard; charter school parent and board member Danielle Tomwing; student and aspiring educator Tiffany Tasker; and Maria Saucedo.

The teachers union endorsed Reinhard, Tomwing, and Tasker. The three candidates raised the most money and held the most votes through a few rounds of updates to vote counts Tuesday.

Reinhard, who had the most votes throughout Tuesday night’s updates, said being in the lead had her excited about getting back to work with Aurora’s new superintendent, Michael Giles, whom she said she trusts.

“I look forward to working alongside him,” Reinhard said.

The three seats are all at-large, meaning all voters selected their top picks and the three top vote-getters won the seats.

At least three outside groups spent money on the race. The teachers union’s group Students Deserve Better spent more than $80,700 to support its candidates. The Colorado League of Charter Schools spent more than $146,000 in support of Tomwing, and the Ready Colorado Action Fund, a conservative group, spent more than $48,000 to support Garcia.

In Aurora, the new school board will help lead the district at a time when the district has fallen onto the state’s watchlist for low academic achievement once again. The district has also been trying to recruit and retain more teachers of color, and is dealing with changing demographics of a large district growing on the east side, while losing students on the western side bordering Denver.

Yesenia Robles is a reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado covering K-12 school districts and multilingual education. Contact Yesenia at yrobles@chalkbeat.org.


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