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The Grandview Chronicle

Grandview's Source for Student-Centered News.

The Grandview Chronicle

Grandview's Source for Student-Centered News.

The Grandview Chronicle

The Battle for the Board: Steve Graves vs. Scott Mckenna for CCSD

Evie Hall

On November 7th, those over 18 and Cherry Creek Schools District parents voted on who they want to represent their district on the Cherry Creek Schools District (CCSD) board.  

Seats on this board aren’t often battled, but this year in Districts A and C, Steve Graves and Scott Mckenna are challenging the incumbents (Angela Garland and Anne Egan) to represent ideas they prioritize. The two were fought against heavily and lost about 60% to 30% in both districts. But why did they take the time and money to campaign?

While they’re running on multiple platforms, their main focus is improving standardized testing scores as district passing rates continue to go down in Cherry Creek’s public schools. Only about half of students tested at or above grade level in language arts, while only 39.9% performed accurately in math. These numbers are extremely alarming and the two hope to bring the issue to the limelight while returning board members glaze over the topic. Mckenna and Graves designed an extremely specific plan, outlined on their website, that used high-performing teachers as the models for whole grade levels. This attempts to ensure that students are getting the same level of education no matter their teacher and uses methods that have proven to work across the board. Agendas this specific are hard to come by in politics, as most who run for positions, even on the smallest levels, claim false promises and general statements. Whether these two have this detailed plan as a result of Mckenna’s Navy past, or they just want to impress voters isn’t clear, but I commend their goal-setting. 

Yet, they had two clear goals with no plan of action published: 1. to reinstate the honor of valedictorian and 2. to put SROs (School Resource Officers) into every school in the district. Honestly, I agree. It’s hard not to agree with everything they have published on their website that has most likely been carefully worded and has undergone the editing of countless individuals. The bi-partisan approach and holistic beliefs are hard to argue with. Still, many in the district got a flyer warning voters of the infiltration of Scott Mckenna and Steve Graves. 

This was extreme propaganda. Something to scare those who don’t do their own research, but it’s all based in facts. The version Graves and Mckenna that is published to their website and their YouTube channel are polished and focused, but after watching some of the forums hosted the team’s true intentions became clear. 

Mckenna’s favorite phrase is, “Our district is leaving too many of our students behind,” but he does not mean you. By this is, he is implying white American students who go home and contradict the views of their parents. While he “[does] not support banning books”, he came to the Eaglecrest Education forum with receipts of books he deemed as inappropriate for elementary school students. He talks about the book “All Boys Aren’t Blue”, a memoir-manifesto about growing up as a queer Black man in Virginia, and how scenes are too “graphic” for young readers. However, in an interview with the Sentinel, Mckenna admits that he hasn’t read the book for himself and “doesn’t know the context of the scene” he referenced in the forum a month ago. Further, Mckenna reveals that scenes of sexual harassment and indecent exposure are age appropriate for children who want to read his own book. Steve Mckenna’s facade of agreeable initiatives is immediately broken down when he has the chance to speak on his own. 

The latter of the two, Steve Graves, is there for show it seems like. He talks but not efficiently and makes broad claims. His background as a performing arts teacher in Texas gave him a unique perspective on how classrooms are run on a day to day basis, that most other candidates could not speak to. His main goals are to see discipline increase and order returned to classrooms after the horrific effects of the pandemic. When asked why he and Mckenna were running as a block, he said splitting costs was a great benefit. 

If elected by CCSD voters, Mckenna posed a threat to the previously all-female board and ideals that prioritize equity and diversity. Graves and Mckenna offered platforms that are the opposite of the spectrum from our previous members, but most of them should be taken into consideration. While Mckenna can be seen as extremist, I can appreciate his sense of urgency. I hope the current board takes his issues seriously and acts upon the concerns of a previous parent.

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About the Contributor
Evie Hall, Opinions Writer
What grade are you in?  I am in the 12th grade. How many years have I been on Staff?  I have been on The Chronicle Staff for two years. What are you looking forward to the most? For my last year on staff, I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone on staff and growing as a newspaper! What is your favorite personality trait? My favorite trait in my personality is my positivity and my ability to cheer my friends up.

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