DENVER – Union-backed candidate Amy Speers was disqualified to run for a seat on the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board because she doesn’t live in district 4. Despite Speers’ “oops!” mistake, union bosses want voters to cast their ballots for her – hinting they’ll find a legal solution after the election, Tuesday.
In the crossfire of finger pointing, Speers called it an “oversight” and then blamed an unnamed school election official in district 4 for accepting her candidacy.
“On August 8, 2013, the Adams 12 School District’s designated election official confirmed that I met all of the legal requirements and would be an official candidate for District 4,” wrote Speers on her Facebook page.
Speers actually filed her candidacy affidavit two days later – Aug. 10 – according to signed documents on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
“All candidates must sign an affidavit confirming they are eligible to run for the director district they intend to represent,” said a statement posted Tuesday on the school district’s website.
Though the school district acknowledged receiving her signed affidavit, it did not reference the date or who processed it.
“An oversight was made, and the candidate’s residency was not verified,” conceded the school district administration statement which also stated additional measures will be adopted to ensure every candidate is checked.
“The mistake made by the District is an unfortunate oversight,” said Dorian DeLong, president of the District 12 Educators Association union, in a blast email to union members.
“We ask that any member who has not yet cast their ballot do so, and cast it in favor of Amy,” he implored.
DeLong said the vote for Speers will hold her opponent Rico Figueroa “accountable for his incendiary comments about our association and your colleagues” in the union.
EdNews Colorado reported Wednesday that DeLong said he is investigating whether there are alternatives to get around the disqualification of Speers.
“We’re currently exploring… to see if there’s any other option,” said DeLong according to EdNews. “This is uncharted territory.”
Observers speculated Thursday that De Long and the unions may consider a legal challenge based on the number of votes cast for Speers, potentially use her vote count to fill the seat with a like minded pro-union appointment or force a new election in district 4.
Speers told the teachers union publication that the district 4 boundaries were changed in May 2012, after she had been considered to fill a vacancy in 2011.
The union, which has had a tempestuous relationship with Adams school district administration, funded nearly every dollar in Speers’ campaign.
Speers raised $2,659 in individual cash contributions – a meager sum compared to more than the $36,608 of in-kind contributions pumped into her campaign by the CEA Small Donor Committee and District 12 Educators Association political action committee.
According to Speers’ campaign finance report, amended Oct. 19, the unions paid for Speers campaign political consultants, a logo design, palm cards and writing, designing and printing brochures and mailers.