Father and safety advisor Paul Ballenger is running for Denver university board

A Denver father who served in the navy and is concerned about university protection announced Thursday that he’s managing for a seat on the college board. 

Paul Ballenger has filed to run for an at-big seat symbolizing the whole city. He’s taking on at the very least two opponents: incumbent Auon’tai Anderson, who was elected to the board in 2019 and at this time serves as vice president, and Kwame Spearman, who was until lately the CEO of unbiased bookstore chain Tattered Address and ran for Denver mayor before this 12 months.

John Youngquist, who was formerly principal of Denver’s East Superior School, stated this 7 days that he is also thinking about managing for the at-big seat but has not made a decision nonetheless.

A few of the 7 Denver college board seats are up for grabs Nov. 7. The election has the probable to change the dynamics of the board, which has been criticized for infighting and energy struggles amongst some customers in excess of the past year.

Also at stake is how the board will offer with declining enrollment and answer to safety concerns, specifically after a high-profile capturing at East Large in March.

Ballenger, 46, referenced the taking pictures in his announcement on the sidewalk in entrance of Denver General public Universities headquarters. He claimed the capturing on March 22 “changed anything.”

“That was the day I arrived to know the ineffective safety policies my relatives and our faculty felt have been felt by all,” explained Ballenger, who is a single dad to a daughter who concluded middle school at McAuliffe Intercontinental College this week and will show up at Northfield Higher future calendar year.

Ballenger mentioned he joined the U.S. Maritime Corps a lot more than 20 a long time ago. Immediately after his navy assistance, he labored as a firefighter and EMT. He mentioned he came to Colorado in 2016 to help begin a safety business. In 2020, he and his daughter moved to Denver, in which they reside in the Central Park neighborhood. Ballenger however works in stability as a guide.

In an interview, he reported his protection encounter would be an asset to a district struggling with how to continue to keep its educational institutions protected. He reported the board’s 2020 final decision to eliminate police officers from faculties — which it quickly reversed in the wake of the East capturing — was made devoid of more than enough local community responses. Educational institutions should really be in a position to decide on no matter if or not to have a police officer, acknowledged as a faculty resource officer, or SRO, Ballenger stated. 

“I feel there ought to be a lot far more autonomy at the principal stage to make decisions,” he reported. “If a principal … says ‘Hey, you know what, there is a lot of violence in the neighborhood, there’s been gang activity, … I’m a minimal concerned with guns coming to school, I want to ramp up for a bit till things amazing off,’ I imagine which is a pretty fair ask for.”

Ballenger claimed he’s been pissed off by the college board’s infighting. If elected, he stated he desires to “restore some dignity” to the board and get members again to small business.

“I want to make school board conferences boring all over again,” Ballenger reported.

He explained he is aware the board faces difficult conclusions, such as about irrespective of whether to near educational facilities with very low enrollment. But Ballenger said the closure method has fallen small.

“I’ve heard the phrase ‘blindsided’ more than and over once more,” he mentioned. “In the event that school closures have to take place, we have to make absolutely sure that they are fair, make guaranteed that they are equitable, and that we’re involving the local community early on so they can possibly advocate for their school or at minimum realize that adjustments could be going on.”

Ballenger neither aligned himself with nor distanced himself from the philosophy of education and learning reform, which is normally a dividing line in Denver college board elections. Relatively, he said he believes that “if a faculty is doing work well for the young children and the employees, it really should be still left on your own.”

In his announcement, Ballenger explained his experience as “an Military person, a businessman, a safety specialist, and a father to a really terrific child,” helps make him “uniquely positioned to guide.”

“More than anything at all, I want every mother or father in Denver to be cost-free from fear as to no matter whether their youngster is in risk, but as an alternative to know in entire religion that their kid is thriving,” he reported.

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, covering Denver Public Educational institutions. Get in touch with Melanie at [email protected].

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