Douglas County, Education, Elections, Featured, Sherrie Peif

Teachers Association kicks in another $300,000 to Douglas County campaign; $600,000 total

CASTLE ROCK – Just days after Douglas County voters learned that the American Federation of Teachers dropped $300,000 into its local school board race, Complete Colorado has learned the actual amount is likely twice that amount.

According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Website, TRACER, which is used to track campaign finance reports, Douglas Schools for Douglas Kids (DSDK) filed a supplemental filing that shows the American Federation of Teachers Solidarity also gave the group $300,000 to support the national teachers association-backed slate of candidates: Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung and Chris Schor.

Complete Colorado called both DSDK’s registered agent, Ronda Scholting, and the committee’s filing agent, Ashley Stevens, to verify if there was a filing mistake.

Scholting did not answer her phone. Stevens said she would have someone call Complete Colorado back. As of press time, Complete had not received a response. It will update its story if it receives new information from DSDK.

Complete Colorado also contacted Douglas County Parents, the activist group supporting  Anthony Graziano, Krista Holtzmann, Kevin Leung, and Chris Schor. The slate, which supporters have also dubbed “CommUnity” and “A+,” appear to have received backing from the local affiliate of the AFT, and they are now very heavily funded by the national organization.

Douglas County Parents, who have held along with other supporters of the “CommUnity” slate that theor candidates are not being supported by union money since the beginning of their campaign, also did not return the request for comment.

According to Tracer Reports, American Federation of Teachers donated $300,000 on Oct. 4. That money was reported on Oct. 16, before the deadline for reporting. Then on Oct. 19, a supplemental report for $300,000 was filed from American Federation of Teachers Solidarity, a separate federal political committee owned by AFT. That filing shows $300,000 was donated on Oct. 4.

If the filing was not an additional donation but actually to correct the donor name, it would have been an amended filing not a supplemental filing. Additionally, the supplemental filing comes with possible penalties and fines for failing to report it by deadline, since it was collected before the Oct. 12 deadline for reporting.

In recent weeks, Douglas Schools for Douglas Kids have been mailing full color fliers spotlighting their candidates and attacking an opposing slate of self-identified Republican candidates called Elevate Douglas County. The Elevate Douglas County candidates are Grant Nelson, Ryan Abresch, Randy Mills, and Debora Scheffel.

The CommUnity slate candidates have now received $700,000 from various arms of the American Federation of Teachers and$100,000 from Citizens for Integrity, a liberal organization ran by Denver attorney Mark Grueskin, who has been instrumental in many education-related ballot measures that generally favor union perspectives.

The Douglas County GOP has said throughout the campaign that they would not get involved. However, after learning of the first $300,000 donation released an endorsement for the Elevate Douglas County candidates.

In that endorsement the GOP said in part: “We are endorsing to help level the playing field and to expose Leung, Holtzmann, Schor, and Graziano’s deception to our community. They are not conservatives and do not hold Republican values. …We hope all Republicans in Douglas County will join us in support of these four who are fighting for greater educational opportunities in our schools, to expand vocational education, to respect the choices parents and families make, to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and to recruit and retain the best teachers for our schools … Make no mistake, voting for Leung, Schor, Holtzmann, and Graziano will usher a new wave of radical liberal agenda into our schools. Don’t let our county get shAFTed.”


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