Mesa County to have Year Round School?

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Schools in Mesa County may be going year round--it's one option the district is considering after it's $185 million bond failed in Tuesday night's election.

Although the measure failed, Mesa County schools still need a solution to overcrowding.

Jane McMechen says she chose Independence Academy for her 13–year–old daughter for a reason.

"I'm hoping that she can get a good education and hoping that the schools don't get so overcrowded that she can't achieve that."

When asked to vote for a bond to build more schools, she said no.

"I would if they would show me that they would use it wisely, show me higher test scores, more time from the teachers.

Although McMechen is worried about overcrowding, that worry probably won't be going away anytime soon.

School District 51 Spokesman Jeff Kirtland says enrollment is up and growing.

"50 percent of schools are overcrowded, so these are needs we have to meet. It's a challenge we have to work to solve."

He says the bond was the best solution and the district is disappointed.

"That's what I'm most sad about, just the sense that we didn't accomplish what we set out to do."

But Kirtland says the district has to move forward. The school board has already been working on a plan "b."

Three possible solutions-- year round school, split sessions and modular classrooms.

Kirtland says the money to pay for those options will have to come from the existing budget and could mean cuts elsewhere. He says it's too early to tell where those cuts would be and the school board will have to decide in the future.

As for Jane McMechen, she says she won't be going to those meetings.

"This is a late in life child, I've done my dues."

And she doesn't want to pay anymore taxes but she hopes the school board finds a solution.

The school board will meet later this month.

If it decides on year round school or split sessions, it could take up to two years to implement the new system.

The school district says it will have to put another bond on the ballot in the next four years.

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