District 51 School Board moves forward with ballot measures

Grand Junction, CO – District 51 School Board members voted unanimously Tuesday, June 20, 2017, to pursue a bond measure and mill levy override in the Nov. 7, 2017, Coordinated Election.

If approved, the bond measure would allow the district to issue $118.5 million in bonds that would be paid off through property taxes collected specifically for the following purposes:

  • $55 million for Priority 1 maintenance projects across D51 schools
  • $40 million to replace Orchard Mesa Middle School
  • $11 million for technology upgrades
  • $5 million to build a gym at Dual Immersion Academy
  • $5 million for a Palisade High School auxiliary gym
  • $2.5 million to add security features at schools across the district

The mill levy override question will ask voters to raise $6.5 million annually in property tax revenue within District 51 boundaries specifically for the following purposes:

  • $3.2 million to add 5 additional student contact days in the school calendar to the 165 days elementary schools, 166 days middle schools, and 169 days high schools had in 2016-17
  • $2 million for curriculum
  • $1 million for ongoing maintenance beyond Priority 1 projects
  • $300,000 for ongoing technology resources and support

Bond measures can only be used for construction, infrastructure and maintenance, while mill levy override revenues can be used for operations specified in ballot language.

The Class of 2017 was in kindergarten the last time voters approved a bond measure and mill levy override in the district. The bond measure of 2004 allowed the district to issue $109 million in bonds to build three new schools (Fruita 8/9 School, Pear Park Elementary, and Rim Rock Elementary), replace two existing schools (Bookcliff Middle School and the Career Center), renovate and expand 37 schools, and acquire property for future building sites. A fourth school – Chipeta Elementary – was built with savings from the other projects. The mill levy override of 2004 generates up to $4 million per year to fund staffing and operations at the three new schools.