School Board Votes to Put $185 Million Bond on November Ballot

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Four years after Mesa County voters passed the last school bond issue, they will have another decision to make come November.

In a unanimous decision during a Tuesday night school board meeting, board members voted to place a school bond issue on the November ballot. But there was some disagreement as to how much they should ask voters for.

The board had to choose between a $185 million or a $211 million bond that would include a Pear Park middle school. In a 3-2 decision they went with the $185 million option.

If this school bond is passed, School District 51 will use the money for a new Fruita Elementary School, an additional elementary school, a replacement for Orchard Mesa Middle School, $33 million in school repairs, money to purchase new land, and the biggie -- two new highschools, one in Orchard Mesa, and one in Northern Grand Junction.

Tuesday night, board members also approved a second question that will ask voters for a $6 million TABOR override to pay for operation costs and staffing for the new schools.

District 51 officials estimate the bond would cost each household an additional $17.26 a month in property taxes, for a home valued at $250,000. They say it would cost businesses an additional $75.40 a month.

The school board and members of the Long Range Planning Committee, who suggested the school bond in the first place, say they plan to spend the next 8 weeks leading up to the election campaigning aggressively in favor of the measure. They say they're confident voters will come through like they did in 2004 and will realize what this money could do for the community.

Actual ballot language for the two questions will be finalized early in September.

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