Bilingual-education foe places in school board race

Holly Yettick
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Bilingual-education opponent Rita Montero didn't run for the Denver School Board this year.

But she finished in second place in a three-way race for the at-large seat anyway.

Montero received 26 percent of 66,058 ballots -- 23 percentage points less than winner Les Woodward and 2 percentage points more than Woodward's opponent, Dale Sadler.

Montero, a former board member, originally declared her candidacy because she disagreed with the current board's direction and didn't want Woodward to be unopposed. After learning Sadler had switched from the northeast Denver to the at-large race, she withdrew.

But the ballots had been sent to the printer with her name still on them. So she still received votes.

Montero said Tuesday that one voter told her he chose her to "protest what's going on with the Board of Education."

Montero also believes voters who chose her might have been expressing support for the statewide ballot initiative she's championing. The initiative would require non-English speakers to spend a maximum of one year in intensive English classes before entering mainstream classes.