DPS school board race fundraising: Who's getting big bucks from Phil Anschutz?

Barbara O'Brien.
Like much of the rhetoric surrounding next month's Denver Public Schools school board election, the nine candidates are roughly split when it comes to who's funding their campaigns. The four so-called reform candidates have received big checks from Phil Anschutz, Daniel Ritchie and DaVita CEO Kent Thiry and his wife. Former lieutenant governor Barbara O'Brien leads the pack, having raised $173,324.

The non-reformers have gotten a mix of monetary and non-monetary support from the teachers' union.

As we explained in our recent cover story, "Drawing the Line," nine candidates are running for four open seats on the seven-member board.

Free Lunch Photography
Phil Anschutz, right, with Jack Vickers at the recent dedication of a new Boys & Girls Club in Denver.
Four of them -- O'Brien, Rosemary Rodriguez, Mike Johnson and Landri Taylor -- agree that the district is headed in the right direction. Four others -- Michael Kiley, Rosario C. de Baca, Meg Schomp and Roger Kilgore -- think the district is not. The ninth candidate, Joan Poston, who is running at-large against O'Brien and Kiley, is more of a wild card.

If voters fill at least three of the four open seats with candidates who disagree with DPS's current brand of reform -- which includes strategies such as closing and replacing failing schools, encouraging charter and innovation schools, and tying teacher evaluations to student test scores -- the 88,000-student district could undergo a big shift.

Here's a look inside each candidate's recently filed campaign finance report.


Michael Kiley
Total monetary contributions: $32,460
Total non-monetary contributions: $59,046
Notable donors: Denver Classroom Teachers Association Fund: $5,000 monetary, $41,549 non-monetary; Public Education Committee, a small-donor committee connected to the Colorado Education Association: $21,000 non-monetary

Barbara O'Brien
Total monetary contributions: $173,324
Total non-monetary contributions: $3,467
Notable donors: Denise O'Leary, wife of DaVita CEO Kent Thiry: $10,000
Samuel Gary, founder of Samuel Gary Jr. & Associates: $10,000
Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado: $10,000
Phil Anschutz, billionaire: $5,000
Daniel Ritchie, former chancellor of the University of Denver: $5,000
Dave Younggren of Gary Community Investment and the Piton Foundation: $5,000
Patrick Hamill, founder of Oakwood Homes, $3,000
John Freyer, president of the Land Title Guarantee Company: $3,000
Scott Reiman, founder of Hexagon Investments: $3,000

Joan Poston
Total monetary contributions: none
Total non-monetary contributions: none

Continue for more on candidates' fundraising totals thus far.

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