Voters easily approved the Mancos district’s bond.
According to unofficial results, 2,269 voted against Montezuma-Cortez’s Ballot Measure 3B, and 1,867 voting for it – 54.9 percent to 45.1 percent.
“I would just like to say that I am disappointed in the results,” Montezuma-Cortez Superintendent Lori Haukeness said after the preliminary results were read.
“I really want to thank the community that supported the school district, and obviously we still have these challenges that we still need to address, and so we will go back the board and start having some discussions.”
The district conducted an extensive campaign in support of the measure, which would have installed a mill levy override to raise money for the general fund. Teachers and staff members went door to door asking district residents to vote for the tax and passed out fliers at events such as the homecoming parade in October. District officials, including Haukeness, said the money would be used to give teachers raises and buy new buses and technological equipment.
But as the election neared, more voters voiced opinions opposing the idea. The Journal published editorial columns endorsing the measure, but some readers responded with less favorable letters to the editor.
One reader, Jeanne Stiegelmeyer, wrote a letter in which she objected to creating a permanent tax without language requiring that the revenue to be used only for specific purposes. The letter attracted hundreds of reads and dozens of comments on The Journal’s Facebook page, most of which agreed with her.
As opposition appeared to mount, Haukeness released a plan for how the district would spend the mill levy revenue. Emailed to The Journal four days before the election, the plan included details such as a timeline for purchasing buses over the next 15 years, and the number of electronic devices to be replaced per year.
Brian Balfour, who was re-elected to represent District A on the school board, said he was disappointed with the 3B results and stood by the board’s decision to propose the mill levy.
“I heard this evening that this is going to be a huge morale killer for the teachers,” he said. “I think if we remain positive and educate the community throughout the next year ... they will realize that the mill levy override is necessary for a strong school district.”
The Mancos electionThe Mancos School District won voter approval for Bond Measure 3A, its request to increase property taxes to raise $4.95 million as part of a match for a school improvement grant. According to unofficial results, 761 voted for the bond, and 284 against it – 72.8 percent to 27.2 percent.
Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell’s announcement of the votes for Mancos’ Measure 3A was met with quiet cheers from a group of school board members and district staff.
“We’re ecstatic,” Mancos Superintendent Brian Hanson said.
Mancos school board member Pam Coppinger thanked the Mancos volunteers that formed a bond committee this summer for their work in advocating the bond measure.
“I think it was a series of miracles that got us here,” she said. “It’s going to be absolutely awesome for our school district and our students.”
The Dolores electionIn the election for two open seats on the Dolores School Board, voters chose Kay Phelps, who earned 474 votes, and Casey McClellan, who earned 387 votes. A total of 1,780 votes were cast for seven candidates.
Terms are for four years.
“I’m very happy to be elected,” McClellan said. “I have my work cut out for me, and look forward to working with everybody.”
School board president Linnea Vass said she thought both candidates were qualified, and especially spoke highly of Phelps.
“She started teaching in Dolores many, many years ago, and has taught abroad, and taught at Fort Lewis,” Vass said. “She’s going to bring some great things to the board.”
Montezuma-Cortez school boardIn the contested race for the Montezuma-Cortez Board of Education District A, Balfour was re-elected, winning 2,362 votes over candidate Tiffany Cheney, who won 1,081 votes.
District F re-elected Sheri Noyes to the Montezuma-Cortez board with 2,340 votes, compared with challenger Geof Byerly’s 1,029 votes.
School board president John Schuenemeyer won re-election unopposed in District B, with 2,689 votes.
Board member Kara Suckla won re-election unopposed in District G, with 2,833 votes.
Josiah Forkner won election unopposed in District D, with 174 votes, in a race in which only district residents could vote. The seat had been vacated by Eric Whyte, who retired.
A smooth Election DayElection Day went smoothly, Percell said one hour before the polls closed.
As of 6 p.m. the office had accepted 6,200 ballots, and 5,563 had been counted.
“We expect to post the results soon after the polls close,” Percell said.
She said there have been no issues and that new vote-counting equipment was working well and was much faster than the previous system.
Voting on Election Day was steady, Percell said, adding that the largest single-day volume of votes was on Monday, when 680 ballots were dropped off.
Reporters Jim Mimiaga, Stephanie Alderton and Emily Rice contributed to this article.