Jeb Bush donates to pro-reform candidates

Second round of finance reports released

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The second wave of campaign finance filings in the Douglas County School Board race, released Nov. 1, shows another national supporter in the mix. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, donated $1,000 each to the four candidates who support the current board: incumbents Doug Benevento and Meghann Silverthorn, and Jim Geddes and Judi Reynolds.

Bush chairs the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a pro-education-reform policy organization whose mission is “to build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential.”

Bush’s four-figure contribution is small potatoes compared to the donations recorded in filings released Oct. 15. Those filings showed donations of $35,000 to each of the four pro-board candidates - a total of $140,000 for all - from oilman Alex Cranberg and investment fund president Ralph Nagel. The two men serve on the board for the Denver-based nonprofit, Alliance for Choice in Education (ACE).

The largest donation to the four candidates who oppose the current board is $2,500, given to Parker’s Ronda Scholting from the South Metro Professional Firefighters Association. She also received $500 from the District 12 Educators Association (DTEA) Political Action Committee for Education. The DTEA represents teachers in Colorado’s Adams 12 Five Star School District.

Scholting, running in District G against Silverthorn, has raised the most among the challenger candidates with a total of about $19,100.

Benevento leads the way among the four board-backer candidates with total donations of about $43,500. The other three running on a slate with Benevento all have tallied about $40,000 each.

More than 90 percent of the pro-board candidates’ donations come from sources outside Douglas County.

The vast majority of identified contributions to opposition candidates Barbra Chase, Bill Hodges, Julie Keim and Scholting are from Douglas County.

With a total of more than $165,000 in donations, the Douglas County Republican-endorsed pro-reform candidates have raised nearly three times as much as their opponents. The opposition candidates’ tally is about $56,500.

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