LONGMONT -- St. Vrain Valley School District voters will get to decide a school board election contest after all.
On Friday morning, Arnold Hanuman turned in more than the 50 required petition signatures to earn a spot on the Nov. 1 ballot for the Board of Education's District A seat, setting up a match-up with incumbent board member Rick Hammans.
Hanuman, a 40-year-old deputy Boulder County district attorney, lives at 11912 N. County Line Road, between Longmont and Berthoud, on the far northern edge of Boulder County and just inside the St. Vrain Valley School District's northern boundary.
"My whole career has been focused to date on public service," Hanuman said Friday night, adding later that this year's school board elections presented "an opportunity for me to be involved at the appropriate time."
Hanuman said, "I have two kids in the school system right now, both in high schools in the school district."
Hammans, a Lyons-area resident who was appointed to the school board in 2006 and elected in November 2007, is seeking another term as the District A representative. He also submitted enough petition signers to qualify for this fall's ballot, said Barb Steege, secretary to the Board of Education.
The deadline for candidates to turn in petitions for the board seats up for election this fall was 4 p.m. Friday.
Steege said no one showed up with petitions to challenge three other incumbents seeking re-election to their seats: District C board member Bob Smith; District E representative John Creighton; and District G board member Mike Schiers.
Smith, Creighton and Schiers each presented enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, Steege said.
A school board member must live within the boundaries of the board district he or she represents, but board members are elected by votes from throughout the St. Vrain Valley School District.
If Hanuman hadn't stepped forward and qualified as a candidate, the incumbents of the four seats up this year would all have been unopposed -- and the school district could have canceled the election.
Now, however, the election will proceed, with school district voters having a choice in the District A race between Hammans and Hanuman but only one name on St. Vrain Valley ballots for each of the other three seats.
Hanuman, who's been in the Boulder County District Attorney's Office since 2007 and had a private solo north metro Denver area law practice for about a year before that, emphasized that he wasn't seeking the District A because of any particular disagreements with Hammans or the rest of the current board.
Elections, though, should include contests that give candidates a chance "to have a discussion and debate about issues," Hanuman said.
Hanuman said he'd worked in the international development field for about 10 years at the Washington, D.C.-based World Bank in a management-level job that involved corporate strategies and new-product development. He said he's interested in looking at whether St. Vrain Valley students "are prepared to be competitive in a global environment."
Economically, Hanuman said, "we've had a decade of difficult times," and he said education has to prepare students to address such challenges.
"I don't have a particular hot-button issue," Hanuman said. He said he'll be discussing education issues "with stakeholders" in the weeks and months ahead, including discussions of the adequacy of funding for education.
Hammans, meanwhile, said of the emergence of a rival for his seat: "That's the way democracy works."
Hammans said in a Friday evening interview that "I look forward to a good productive race. I'm going to talk about what we need to do for our schools and to keep going with the program we've been going with."
Hanuman, who attended Broomfield High School, got an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder, did international human-rights law course work at Oxford University in England, and got his law degree from the University of Maryland.
John Fryar can be reached at 303-684-5211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.