Laura McDonald wins Pacesetters Award

As a mother of two daughters in the St. Vrain Valley School District and an active PTO member, Laura McDonald saw how budget cuts were hindering her children's education.

So she decided to do something about it and researched the ins and outs of the public education system.

"I learned a lot in a short period of time about how school finance works," McDonald said. "It was completely different than what I thought that I knew ... You either get involved or be happy with the results we got before."

McDonald became president of the PTO and used that position to relay to other parents the information she had learned. Led by McDonald, a group of parents implored the St. Vrain's board of directors to put into a motion a ballot that would secure more funding for schools. McDonald's work resulted in a tax override of $16.5 million and a capital improvement bond for $189 million.

A lot of that money ended up getting cut the next year, but a fire had been lit under McDonald. She met with state and local officials to learn more. Then she worked with district officials to create Leadership St. Vrain (LSV)...

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Laura McDonald's concern about the education system led to the creation of Leadership St. Vrain and Grassroots St. Vrain. (Matthew Jonas / Daily Camera Staff Photographer)