Now’s Our Chance to Help School District 51 — Finally!

Crumbling ceiling tiles and exposed pipes at Orchard Mesa Elementary School

First the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and downtown business owners like Doug Simons of Enstrom Candies told city residents they needed to pay an extra sales tax to fund an event center downtown. People panned the idea and voted it down by a huge margin. A common criticism was, “A tax to build an event center? But what about our crumbling schools?” Then the chamber, Simons and CMU proposed waving a magic wand and changing the names of North Avenue to “University Boulevard,” and 12th Street to “Maverick Way,” saying this will be really great. People again panned the idea for the cost and inconvenience. A widely-expressed sentiment about the proposed name change has been ”Change the name of North Avenue? But what about our crumbling schools?”

Finally a Chance to Fund the Schools!

Well, at long last Mesa County residents are FINALLY going to get a chance to better fund our crumbling schools.

A mill levy and bond measure on the November, 2017 ballot, Measures 3A and 3B, will supply badly-needed additional funding to crumbling District 51 schools.

Rusted-out drain trap from Clifton Elementary School’s kitchen that had to be dug out

If voters pass these badly-needed funding measures, for less than the cost of a monthly Netflix subscription — about $10 per month per household on average — District 51 will be able to build a new Orchard Mesa Middle School to replace the falling apart old one, buy textbooks written this century, bring technology up to date and make it available to more students, and perform badly-needed repairs, maintenance and security updates on school buildings.  It will also allow the school system to add five additional days to the school year, and fund instructional resources the schools have been lacking. It will bring Mesa County to mid-way up the pack of statewide school system funding, instead of being second from the bottom, only above Pueblo. And improved D-51 schools will help make Mesa County more attractive to new businesses seeking to relocate to a great part of Colorado.

It’s finally time. We have a chance to give some crucial help to our schools and our entire community instead of doing something sillier and less beneficial to area residents, like build an event center or renaming some streets. Schools are important to a much larger number of area residents and are a crucial key to the future of Mesa County.

Where to Go for More Information…

You can see a slide show presentation about the bond and mill levy measures here.

You can see where every dollar will go, and a list of every repair and maintenance need at every school facility in the District that will benefit from the funding here.

Here is a list of upcoming events in support of the bond and mill levy to help D-51 schools.

You can also see who is endorsing the bond measure and mill levy here. (Note that so far the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Doug Simons of Enstrom Candies do not appear on the list, indicating the bond and mill levy measures will significantly benefit a large number of Mesa County residents, and not just a handful of big businesses owners and CMU.)

We’ve finally got a chance to help our poor, crumbling schools. Let’s do this!

Weed growing out an Orchard Mesa Elementary School wall


Water damage and exposed conduit in ceiling at Orchard Mesa Middle School

Shredding carpet (a trip hazard) with mildew underneath at Clifton Elementary School

Wall cracks indicating a problematic foundation at Orchard Mesa Middle School

World history books printed in the 1990s currently in use in D-51. They contain no information about the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the global war on terror, the 2010 Haiti earthquake or the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

  4 comments for “Now’s Our Chance to Help School District 51 — Finally!

  1. I will support the bond but with grave reservations.

    Much of what I see and hear are maintenance issues. I would not have to maintain my home if someone would come and build me a new one every few years. Maintenance must be continuous and astutely applied. By no means is the school district the only governmental agency guilty of this neglect and rebuild syndrome. Still it is short sighted.

    Borrowing money for technology which will be obsolete far before the loan is repaid makes no sense.

    II am well aware of the tax limitations in Colorado. And it is not helped by Mesa County governments at all levels which exist only to promote and subsidize the business community. Seems to me local government should make the well being of their citizens a priority. (And don’t give me any trickle down BS.)

    So let’s make the little citizens a priority in this election.

    But come on, pull the damned weed out of the ceiling, patch the roofs, glue the carpet, replace the tiles, re-point the bricks. Gross negligence does not endear sympathy.

    • Thanks for supporting the bond and mill levy, even with your reservations. This is one ballot measure that finally does put the well being of a broad sector of Mesa County residents first, for a change, rather than pander to big businesses in town. Mesa County kids do deserve better than what they’ve got now, and our school system has been hurting financially for a very long time.

  2. I think this is all good and fine…that yes our schools need a lot of work, if not a few new ones! You saw nothing more than a netflix account a month. Sorry, but I have never paid for cable or netflix because I have a very short small monthly income and another ten dollars billed, I am not so sure I can even fit that into my budget! I do care about education and the schools. What ever happened to the fine high revenue brought in by pot shops? Why not impose that on our city, the retailers have so much to pay just to get started but our city could be booming once again if we only moved forward. People are under the impression that the monies gained from this market are supposed to go to schools if grants are requested and all the paper work, book work and regulations are put forth. I can’t afford another ten dollars a month. Sorry, but going to the grocery store and finding items jacked up another dollar here another dollar there..I will not support the bill if it is going to jack up my monthly musts. Thank you for looking at it from this perspective.

    • Susan, the mill levy and bond will be included on property taxes. If you own your home and it’s valued at under $200,000, you will be assessed substantially less than $10/month. The $10 estimated monthly amount is based on an average home value of $200,000. And of course if you rent, you won’t be paying anything extra. Your landlord will, but you can still vote to approve 3A and 3B! Our schools really are in desperate need.

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