All three ballot proposals from school districts in the Pikes Peak region were headed toward defeat in preliminary election results.
A school financing measure was failing in Lewis-Palmer D-38 in Monument, with 55% of voters rejecting a $28.985 million bond measure to build a new elementary school in Jackson Creek. The last time Tri-Lakes-area voters approved a school funding initiative was in 2006, to construct Palmer Ridge High School.
Two-thirds of Calhan RJ-1 voters overwhelmingly rejected a $15.8 million bond, which would have funded such improvements as a new vocational tech shop with welding bays and a flexible performing arts space.
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"We’ll have to reassess," said Superintendent David Slothower. "I think the need for facility is unchanged by the vote. We’ll have to try to find a way to provide that facility that allows for the programs the community is asking us to provide."
In the small district of Miami-Yoder JT-60, the four-year term limit for all five school board seats will remain, with 77% of voters opposing the proposal to lift the limit, even though there were not enough candidates in this election to fill the seats.
In Teller County, 55% of voters recalled Cripple Creek-Victor RE-1 school board President Tim Braun on claims of violating state statutes, school board policies and resolutions, open-meetings laws and public disclosure rules. Community of Caring founder Mary Bielz will replace him on the board.
In all, more than 50 candidates sought contested seats across the region. Money talked in high-profile school board races.
D-38 board President Matthew Clawson was winning re-election for District 5 with about 55% of the votes. Clawson had the largest campaign financing pot of any candidate in the region, with nearly $17,000.
The District 4 race was close in unofficial results. Wit 52% of the vote, high-tech executive Ron Schwarz, who had the backing of district educators and at least one current board member, was edging out opponent Ryan Graham, a retired firefighter.
Former Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce President Will Temby succeeded in landing a seat on Academy D-20’s board this go-round, with 41% of the votes in preliminary tallies. He lost by 20 votes in 2017.
Scholastic Book Fairs representative Heather Cloninger took the other empty D-20 seat.
As is often the case, three of four union-endorsed candidates were prevailing in bids for four open seats on the seven-member Colorado Springs D-11 board.
Incumbent Mary Coleman was leading the pack of eight candidates with 19% approval. Substitute teacher Darleen Daniels had the second most votes, and engineer Parth Melpakam was the third highest.
Former middle school science teacher Jason Jorgenson was about 500 votes ahead of Chris Wallis, an operations supervisor and the fourth teachers' union-backed candidate.
"No matter what the results are tonight, I feel the district will be in good hands," Wallis said. "D-11 has good momentum, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds."
Of the six candidates vying for two open seats in Peyton 23-JT, Terry Harfert and Katie Harms were leading in early results.
In Hanover D-28, two incumbents, Randall Underwood and Danielle Combs, were re-elected. The third open seat on the five-member board was leaning toward Paul David Ricks.
Incumbent Andrea Fowler will keep her seat in Calhan. Joining her will be newcomers Chance Manyik and Scott Mikita.
Ellicott D-22 incumbents Becky Natelli and Jackie Chambers were re-elected; the third open seat goes to Robert McWilliams.
School District 49 incumbent John Graham was re-elected to represent District 3 and is joined by Rick Van Wieren for District 2.
Widefield D-3 incumbent Neil Nelson has been re-elected, and voters favored Carlos Gonzalez for the second open seat.
Of the other eight candidates competing for four open seats in Teller County, incumbent Tana Rice retained her position as an at-large member. Recall supporter and former RE-1 board member Bill Arrick won the other at-large seat.
Representing the city of Victor on the school board will be Parks and Rec Director Connie Dodrill. Filling the seat representing the city of Cripple Creek is Gari Lu Schwab, a Cripple Creek-Victor High School graduate who worked for the district for more than 30 years, including as a teacher at Cresson Elementary.