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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas Action Fund

Summit School Board election is an investment in our community

Education should not be partisan, and neither should school board elections. We deserve competent leaders who understand the issues and will advocate for all students. Yet there is no shortage of factions in our communities eager to inject radical politics into our education systems while attempting to undermine the realities of inequity.

Given the student demographics in central mountain communities like Summit County, Latinos have a lot at stake in local school board races. No matter the predominant political affiliation, the Summit County School District is more than 40% Latino – which is why Voces Unidas Action Fund is engaged and invested in the critical election to four seats on the district school board this November.

As sons and daughters of Latino immigrants who form the working-class backbone of Summit County, we have a vested interest in the leadership, values and curriculums district schools provide. Our purpose as an organization with an office in the heart of Summit County (Frisco) is to hold local elected leaders accountable and to elect leaders who are aligned with our values. In fact, our regional manager in the Frisco office is a product of the Summit County School District and also graduated from Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.

Every candidate in the Summit County School Board election had the opportunity to participate in our endorsement process and answer our questions about their vision for and experience in addressing equity and academic issues facing the district. We endorsed and supported the candidates who are aligned with our values and will champion the issues that matter most to Latinos. Simply being Latino doesn’t guarantee a candidate shares our values as a community.

We endorsed candidates who expressed policy positions and commitment to tangible actions to address the needs of Latino students in the district. Additionally, we expect them to commit to holding the school system accountable for achievement and academic gaps between Latino students and their white peers. In Summit County, those candidates are Vanessa Agee, Consuelo Redhorse, Julie Shapiro, and Gayle Jones Westerberg.

Equally important, we put our faith in these candidates to push back and fight the extremists trying to impose their radical religious views in public schools, discriminate against LGBTQ students, ban books and censor the history that is taught in our schools. We believe such values have no place in our school systems, and we refuse to endorse candidates we deem too extreme or inexperienced to deal with the issues facing the district.

We do not endorse candidates with a political agenda. We endorse candidates with an education agenda that aligns with the values and academic needs of our community, and we unabashedly invest our time and money in support of those candidates. This is not “dark” money, or even “outside” money. It’s an investment in our community by members of our community, including those who have been educated in the local public-school districts we’re supporting.

You might consider it an investment in the future of our schools. Or, like us, you can simply think of it as giving back to our community.

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