Two candidates backed by the teachers union and a mother who will become the only Hispanic board member won seats Tuesday on the Aurora school board.
Candidates Vicki Reinhard and Stephanie Mason, both endorsed by the teachers union, took early leads and easily outdistanced opponents as counting continued through Wednesday. Nichelle Ortiz, who promoted more parent involvement in the district, secured the third open seat.
Two candidates who previously served on the school board, Amber Drevon and Barbara Yamrick, fell short — although Drevon trailed Ortiz by a little less than 1% of the vote as of Thursday’s count.
This year’s election did not get the same amount of funding or attention as the election in 2017, when four seats — a majority — were up for grabs. There are approximately 109,000 registered voters in the district.
Still, the district’s seven-member school board has big decisions coming up about the future of the district as it faces shifting enrollment trends that mean some schools are sitting half empty while other parts of the district are expecting a boom in development and may need new schools.
Both union-backed candidates, Reinhard and Mason, have said that they are concerned about the possibilities of school closures and are unlikely to support such moves. Other candidates are more supportive of the process the district is using to come up with recommendations and want to wait to hear community feedback and whether it shapes the recommendations.
One decision the new board members won’t get to make anytime soon is about the district’s superintendent. Despite a request from the union leadership to wait, the current school board recently renewed Superintendent Rico Munn’s contract for three years. Union leaders had wanted voters, through the election, to weigh in on the district’s direction.