One of the bright spots for liberals in last Tuesday’s elections in Colorado was another sweeping victory by a teacher-supported slate of school board candidates in bellwether suburban Jefferson County–a win that firms up a trend toward progressive control of this major school district that made headlines a few years ago with the recall of an aberrant right-wing majority.
Although all three leftward-leaning school board candidates in JeffCo won handily, that certainly doesn’t mean that conservatives went down without a fight. In addition to the big money spent on the three losing candidates, an email we were forwarded that was reportedly sent from a board member to every staff member at a Jefferson County charter school suggests that more than the average amount of electioneering pressure was being applied down through the charter school food chain:
Sent: Monday, November 1, 2021
To: [A JEFFCO CHARTER SCHOOL] – All <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Our Kids Need Your Vote!
Reminder to vet your candidates and vote this week. The Jeffco School Board is [THIS CHARTER SCHOOL’S] authorizing agent and sadly politics do play heavily into decisions that should simply be made more at a level regarding what is good for the child.
Having charter friendly Jeffco school board members is beneficial for all choice education options and charter schools in Jeffco. Please vote! More information below on candidates from your local Jeffco Charter School Consortium.
Small bits of info to share (PLEASE do your own research and VOTE your own way):
Jeff Wilhite volunteers and runs the Jeffco Charter School Consortium
Theresa Shelton choices her kids into a choice school to meet their education needs.
Kathy Miks choiced her HS students into a different school to meet their education needs.
Translation: we’re not telling you how to vote, but here’s a reminder of who signs your checks and how they’d like you to vote! The email tells school staff to “do your own research,” but then only lists the three pro-charter school candidates to research. It’s electioneering in every respect short of the utterance of the “magic words” to vote for or against this or that candidate, and certainly doesn’t cast the author in a favorable light now that their favored slate of candidates lost the election.
But don’t worry, unlike Donald Trump, victorious progressive school board candidates don’t tend to hold grudges. For good measure we anonymized everything we could in this email in hope that it will prove more of a cautionary tale than a liability for the school in question, whose staff is guilty only (so far as we know) of getting the strong arm.
Also, if you’re trying to swing a mail ballot election in Colorado, never wait until the Sunday before.