Teachers union president resigns via email amid flap over school closures & conservative school board members’ rejection of health clinic at GJHS

Timothy Couch, President of the Mesa Valley Education Association (MVEA), resigned via email March 8, on the same day the three-member conservative District 51 School Board majority ignored the pleas of students and voted to reject an offer by Marillac Health to operate a grant-funded, school-based health clinic at Grand Junction High School.  The three Board members rejected the clinic at a time when homelessness among D-51 students is rapidly increasing and a Youth Risk Behavior survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (pdf) found poor mental health and suicidal thoughts and behaviors among students are increasing nationwide. According to the CDC, in 2021, almost 60% of female students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness during the past year and nearly 25% made a suicide plan. Suicide is also a growing problem among Mesa County youth and suicide prevention is a “health priority” for Mesa County Public Health.

Couch remained virtually silent during the Board’s debate over the school closure and its rejection of the much-needed school-based health clinic. The only person who spoke out forcefully on behalf of teachers on these topics was former MVEA President Darren Cook.

The same three conservative School Board members — Andrea Haitz, Angela Lema and Will Jones — voted yesterday to close East Middle School, which some teachers feel was a direct attack by these school board members on the more liberal-leaning residents who live in the downtown area. One teacher who asked to remain anonymous pointed out that choosing East Middle School didn’t make sense, since:

“Redlands [Middle School] has the lowest teacher-to-student ratio. When I say low, I mean ridiculous. There are math classes with 15 students. Meanwhile, Grand Mesa has electives classes with one teacher and 60 students. When you even bring up closing Redlands, all the parent lawyers come in and things change very quickly.”


Timothy Couch’s resignation email

  8 comments for “Teachers union president resigns via email amid flap over school closures & conservative school board members’ rejection of health clinic at GJHS

  1. Tim Couch is not immediately stepping down (see the letter.) He is serving out his current term. One shouldn’t conflate current events in D51 with his resignation.

  2. I wish the community would truly get involved and informed when it comes to the school district. The disparity in school class sizes is real, the decline in enrollment and therefore budget is real. The latest inaction on elementary schools will reduce teachers raises in a district that already lags in pay compared to the state. I hope that is all it does but I fear it will cause deeper cuts to staff in buildings that struggle with their current level of staffing. We need people to care deeply about the whole district or we will continue to make short sighted decisions to pander to the most vocal and continue to spread false information.

  3. Now’s the time for Colorado to pass a law ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, even though our nation never has. With a Dem super majority it should be a slam dunk.

  4. The quote from the anonymous educator says it all to me. Wealth has privilege. Even when it comes to public schools we as a whole community pay for.

      • Didn’t you read what the”anonymous” teacher said?

        People in Redlands hire lawyers to fashion the schools the way they want while the poor schmucks in town have to put up with what those “conservative” board members decide.

        It’s a plot to insure those people in the Redlands have plenty of workers to mow their lawns.

  5. Couch needed, in my opinion, too late now, to show some ‘muscle’ ! Seems pretty weak to just leave and not support these unwanted changes. The three people running the show are so unqualified to have anything to do with our public schools. Students Protest!

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