• Parent and former educator Scott Esserman has a wide breadth of education-related experience that he believes will be a critical asset as an At-Large School Board Member. In 2015 he helped to open Denver’s Northfield High School, where he authored an innovation plan to give it additional flexibility from district and state rules. Scott is currently a volunteer chairperson on Denver Public Schools accountability committee, and prioritizes improving student outcomes while removing disparities. He wants to explore other innovative options for both school funding and supporting “community schools” (which he defines as those with culturally relevant curriculum, discipline focused on preparing harm, and strong partnerships between schools and their communities).


    Scott is currently an education consultant specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion in schools.

    Parent and former educator Scott Esserman has a wide breadth of education-related experience that he believes will be a critical asset as an At-Large School Board Member. In 2015 he helped to open Denver’s Northfield High School, where he authored an innovation plan to give it additional flexibility from district and state rules. Scott is currently a volunteer chairperson on Denver Public Schools accountability committee, and prioritizes improving student outcomes while removing disparities. He wants to explore other innovative options for both school funding and supporting “community schools” (which he defines as those with culturally relevant curriculum, discipline focused on preparing harm, and strong partnerships between schools and their communities).


    Scott is currently an education consultant specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion in schools.

    Scott Esserman

    Parent and former educator Scott Esserman has a wide breadth of education-related experience that he believes will be a critical asset as an At-Large School Board Member. In 2015 he helped to open Denver’s Northfield High School, where he authored an innovation plan to give it additional flexibility from district and state rules. Scott is currently a volunteer chairperson on Denver Public Schools accountability committee, and prioritizes improving student outcomes while removing disparities. He wants to explore other innovative options for both school funding and supporting “community schools” (which he defines as those with culturally relevant curriculum, discipline focused on preparing harm, and strong partnerships between schools and their communities).


    Scott is currently an education consultant specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion in schools.

  • Small business owner Xochitl ‘Sochi’ Gaytan has been a Southwest Denver resident since childhood, and her two sons are current and former DPS students. She was a president of the Harvey Park Community Organization, and is a current co-chair of the Colorado Latina Forum. Sochi was born in Mexico, and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen, but growing up she changed public schools seven times as her parents relocated in search of more affordable housing. This experience has framed Sochi’s priorities as a DPS board candidate, and she is particularly focused on better supporting the Black, Hispanic, Latino, Mexicano, and Chicano families who are underserved in the district. Sochi aims to focus on re-allocating funding to classrooms, smaller class sizes, more access to arts, music and sports programs; supporting students who are learning English as a second language; and improving accountability and transparency.

    Small business owner Xochitl ‘Sochi’ Gaytan has been a Southwest Denver resident since childhood, and her two sons are current and former DPS students. She was a president of the Harvey Park Community Organization, and is a current co-chair of the Colorado Latina Forum. Sochi was born in Mexico, and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen, but growing up she changed public schools seven times as her parents relocated in search of more affordable housing. This experience has framed Sochi’s priorities as a DPS board candidate, and she is particularly focused on better supporting the Black, Hispanic, Latino, Mexicano, and Chicano families who are underserved in the district. Sochi aims to focus on re-allocating funding to classrooms, smaller class sizes, more access to arts, music and sports programs; supporting students who are learning English as a second language; and improving accountability and transparency.

    Xochitl "Sochi" Gaytan

    Small business owner Xochitl ‘Sochi’ Gaytan has been a Southwest Denver resident since childhood, and her two sons are current and former DPS students. She was a president of the Harvey Park Community Organization, and is a current co-chair of the Colorado Latina Forum. Sochi was born in Mexico, and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen, but growing up she changed public schools seven times as her parents relocated in search of more affordable housing. This experience has framed Sochi’s priorities as a DPS board candidate, and she is particularly focused on better supporting the Black, Hispanic, Latino, Mexicano, and Chicano families who are underserved in the district. Sochi aims to focus on re-allocating funding to classrooms, smaller class sizes, more access to arts, music and sports programs; supporting students who are learning English as a second language; and improving accountability and transparency.

  • Dr. Carrie Olson is an incumbent who was first elected to the board in 2017, and has 30 years of prior experience as a DPS teacher. She is also the parent of a DPS graduate. Dr. Olson believes in focusing first on listening to the people that you serve, and describes herself as a “community builder.” If re-elected, Dr. Olson would focus on issues such as: excessive standardized testing, inordinate administration costs, and the overarching issue of the segregation an inequity of access to quality education within the DPS system. Dr. Olson believes there is too much privatization and focus on school choice and charter schools — which have increased school segregation — while neighborhood schools and their communities are left to flounder.

    Dr. Carrie Olson is an incumbent who was first elected to the board in 2017, and has 30 years of prior experience as a DPS teacher. She is also the parent of a DPS graduate. Dr. Olson believes in focusing first on listening to the people that you serve, and describes herself as a “community builder.” If re-elected, Dr. Olson would focus on issues such as: excessive standardized testing, inordinate administration costs, and the overarching issue of the segregation an inequity of access to quality education within the DPS system. Dr. Olson believes there is too much privatization and focus on school choice and charter schools — which have increased school segregation — while neighborhood schools and their communities are left to flounder.

    Dr. Carrie A. Olson

    Dr. Carrie Olson is an incumbent who was first elected to the board in 2017, and has 30 years of prior experience as a DPS teacher. She is also the parent of a DPS graduate. Dr. Olson believes in focusing first on listening to the people that you serve, and describes herself as a “community builder.” If re-elected, Dr. Olson would focus on issues such as: excessive standardized testing, inordinate administration costs, and the overarching issue of the segregation an inequity of access to quality education within the DPS system. Dr. Olson believes there is too much privatization and focus on school choice and charter schools — which have increased school segregation — while neighborhood schools and their communities are left to flounder.

  • Michelle Quattlebaum is an educator, and a community liaison at Denver’s George Washington High School, where she helped to establish an inclusive International Baccalaureate program. She is a Denver schools graduate and a mother of three DPS students. Michelle has said she will fight for an inclusive and safe learning environment for all students, as well as a culturally-responsive education program. Her focus is on equity in its many facets, such as: supporting meal programs; ensuring all students have access to the technology they need in and out of the classroom; recruiting more Black, Brown, and Indigenous educators so that the educators reflect the student population; and that schools are collaborative across government lines.
    Michelle Quattlebaum is an educator, and a community liaison at Denver’s George Washington High School, where she helped to establish an inclusive International Baccalaureate program. She is a Denver schools graduate and a mother of three DPS students. Michelle has said she will fight for an inclusive and safe learning environment for all students, as well as a culturally-responsive education program. Her focus is on equity in its many facets, such as: supporting meal programs; ensuring all students have access to the technology they need in and out of the classroom; recruiting more Black, Brown, and Indigenous educators so that the educators reflect the student population; and that schools are collaborative across government lines.

    Michelle Quattlebaum

    Michelle Quattlebaum is an educator, and a community liaison at Denver’s George Washington High School, where she helped to establish an inclusive International Baccalaureate program. She is a Denver schools graduate and a mother of three DPS students. Michelle has said she will fight for an inclusive and safe learning environment for all students, as well as a culturally-responsive education program. Her focus is on equity in its many facets, such as: supporting meal programs; ensuring all students have access to the technology they need in and out of the classroom; recruiting more Black, Brown, and Indigenous educators so that the educators reflect the student population; and that schools are collaborative across government lines.
  • VOTE NO

    We recommend voting NO.

  • The Legislative Authority for Spending State Money would mandate that all state spending from “outside funds” — such as federal money or private donations — would need to be determined and approved by the Colorado Legislature. At a time when Colorado is still rebounding from several disasters, this amendment would effectively paralyze our state in times of future emergencies, when our government needs more flexibility and responsiveness, not less. It also risks over-politicization of ongoing state activities and reduces the influence of technical experts. When our budgeting system fails to produce evidence-based, timely solutions, the most marginalized Coloradans suffer and we miss opportunities to make critical long-term investments in public infrastructure. We must find more nuanced solutions that promote both transparency and effective budgeting.

    The Legislative Authority for Spending State Money would mandate that all state spending from “outside funds” — such as federal money or private donations — would need to be determined and approved by the Colorado Legislature. At a time when Colorado is still rebounding from several disasters, this amendment would effectively paralyze our state in times of future emergencies, when our government needs more flexibility and responsiveness, not less. It also risks over-politicization of ongoing state activities and reduces the influence of technical experts. When our budgeting system fails to produce evidence-based, timely solutions, the most marginalized Coloradans suffer and we miss opportunities to make critical long-term investments in public infrastructure. We must find more nuanced solutions that promote both transparency and effective budgeting.

  • No Position

    We are neutral on Proposition 119.

  • The Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program would raise sales tax on marijuana purchases from 15% to 20% over three years to fund out-of-school educational programs for children ages 5-17, with a priority for providing programs for low-income households. It is estimated that this would raise an estimated $137 million per year. Though the outcome of this taxation is of course laudable, continuing to fund needed education and enrichment programs through “sin taxes,” is an unsustainable model and circumvents the necessary major systemic funding issues we need to address as a state.

    The Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program would raise sales tax on marijuana purchases from 15% to 20% over three years to fund out-of-school educational programs for children ages 5-17, with a priority for providing programs for low-income households. It is estimated that this would raise an estimated $137 million per year. Though the outcome of this taxation is of course laudable, continuing to fund needed education and enrichment programs through “sin taxes,” is an unsustainable model and circumvents the necessary major systemic funding issues we need to address as a state.

  • Endorsed By: The Bell Policy Center
  • VOTE NO

    We recommend voting NO.

  • The Property Tax Assessment Rate Reduction Proposition would: lower the property tax assessment rate for non-residential property from 29% to 26.4%, and lower the property tax assessment rate for residential property from 7.1% to 6.5%.


    This reduction would cut needed public funding -- an estimated $45 million in its first year -- for local government services that all Coloradans rely on, such as schools, fire departments, and police departments. In sum, this proposition would have the effect of primarily benefitting wealthy property owners while robbing funding from crucial public investments like education and infrastructure. When public programs such as these are continually underfunded, the most marginalized in our communities are consistently disproportionally harmed.

    The Property Tax Assessment Rate Reduction Proposition would: lower the property tax assessment rate for non-residential property from 29% to 26.4%, and lower the property tax assessment rate for residential property from 7.1% to 6.5%.


    This reduction would cut needed public funding -- an estimated $45 million in its first year -- for local government services that all Coloradans rely on, such as schools, fire departments, and police departments. In sum, this proposition would have the effect of primarily benefitting wealthy property owners while robbing funding from crucial public investments like education and infrastructure. When public programs such as these are continually underfunded, the most marginalized in our communities are consistently disproportionally harmed.

  • VOTE NO

    We recommend voting NO.

  • The Initiated Ordinance 303 would ban anyone from camping in the Denver area, with the exception of four permitted sites, without receiving written permission from the property’s owner. It would grant the power of enforcement of this ban to residents, who would be allowed to sue the city if it didn’t remove people from these sites within 72 hours.
    The effect would be not only to further criminalize those experiencing homelessness, but it would embolden any un-elected person to act as an enforcement agency unto themselves.


    Homelessness and a dearth of affordable housing is a huge problem in Denver, and one which requires more nuanced solutions and funding. This initiative provides for none of these things, while further endangering our most marginalized neighbors and wasting needed resources.

    The Initiated Ordinance 303 would ban anyone from camping in the Denver area, with the exception of four permitted sites, without receiving written permission from the property’s owner. It would grant the power of enforcement of this ban to residents, who would be allowed to sue the city if it didn’t remove people from these sites within 72 hours.
    The effect would be not only to further criminalize those experiencing homelessness, but it would embolden any un-elected person to act as an enforcement agency unto themselves.


    Homelessness and a dearth of affordable housing is a huge problem in Denver, and one which requires more nuanced solutions and funding. This initiative provides for none of these things, while further endangering our most marginalized neighbors and wasting needed resources.

  • VOTE NO

    We recommend voting NO.

  • The "Enough Taxes Already" Initiative would lower and cap from here forward, Denver’s aggregate sale sand use tax rate, from 4.81% to 4.5%.
    It would require the city to stop new sales or use taxes — even if voters approve new ones — above this 4.5% cap.

     

    This initiative would impact the city’s overall revenue and reduce funding for services -- an estimated cut of $4.7 to 8 million dollars before the end of 2021, followed by $50-80 million in cuts in 2022 and every year after. This slash in funding would rob Denver residents of the very improvements that they have overwhelmingly voted to approve, such as road repairs, park maintenance, fire protection, mental health and homeless services. The effect would be undermining Denver voters’ stated priorities in favor of small gains for a select few.

     

    For these reasons, we recommend a NO vote on Denver Initiative 304.

    The "Enough Taxes Already" Initiative would lower and cap from here forward, Denver’s aggregate sale sand use tax rate, from 4.81% to 4.5%.
    It would require the city to stop new sales or use taxes — even if voters approve new ones — above this 4.5% cap.

     

    This initiative would impact the city’s overall revenue and reduce funding for services -- an estimated cut of $4.7 to 8 million dollars before the end of 2021, followed by $50-80 million in cuts in 2022 and every year after. This slash in funding would rob Denver residents of the very improvements that they have overwhelmingly voted to approve, such as road repairs, park maintenance, fire protection, mental health and homeless services. The effect would be undermining Denver voters’ stated priorities in favor of small gains for a select few.

     

    For these reasons, we recommend a NO vote on Denver Initiative 304.

  • VOTE YES

    We recommend voting YES.

  • The Denver Housing and Sheltering System Bonds would provide $38.6 million funding for shelters and facilities for people experiencing homelessness while not altering Denver's tax rate. It will fund the purchase of the 48th Avenue shelter, support the purchase, conversion, or construction of up to 300 motel rooms in Denver to function as shelters, create over 400 jobs, and fund improvements to existing shelters. This will continue efforts to address the homelessness crisis in Denver which has seen an increase in residents experiencing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Denver Housing and Sheltering System Bonds would provide $38.6 million funding for shelters and facilities for people experiencing homelessness while not altering Denver's tax rate. It will fund the purchase of the 48th Avenue shelter, support the purchase, conversion, or construction of up to 300 motel rooms in Denver to function as shelters, create over 400 jobs, and fund improvements to existing shelters. This will continue efforts to address the homelessness crisis in Denver which has seen an increase in residents experiencing homelessness due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • VOTE NO

    We recommend voting NO.

  • The "Safe and Sound" Measure repeals the group living amendment approved by Denver City Council. The previously approved measure allows up to five unrelated adults to legally live together (the legal limit is currently only two unrelated adults to live together).


    This would take away affordable housing options for low-income and working families, reduce the number of available plots for halfway homes, and undo progress made to provide support for seniors and and those with physical or development disabilities.

    The "Safe and Sound" Measure repeals the group living amendment approved by Denver City Council. The previously approved measure allows up to five unrelated adults to legally live together (the legal limit is currently only two unrelated adults to live together).


    This would take away affordable housing options for low-income and working families, reduce the number of available plots for halfway homes, and undo progress made to provide support for seniors and and those with physical or development disabilities.