Teacher negotiations added back today as a school day

For those who have been doing a double-take at their calendars, the answer is yes, there is school today in District 51.

The 2012-13 calendar adopted last April by District 51 School Board members included five unpaid days off work for district employees, with two of those days right before Thanksgiving, two more days after the end of the school year, and one break on Presidents Day 2013.

Annual negotiations between the district and teachers’ advocacy organization Mesa Valley Education Association took place a few weeks later. The association negotiated to add back one of the unpaid days. As a result, the board re-adopted a 2012-13 calendar last May that added back Feb. 18 as a school day.

Restoring a school day cost the district an estimated $607,000. That amount was rolled into a $5.76 million budget reduction package passed by the board last May that included the reduction of 53 jobs, the extension of walking/busing boundaries, cuts in department and school spending, increases in athletic fees, and elimination of the Leadership for Education, Achievement and Graduation program.

In addition to the extra school day, the budget reduction package paid for a state-mandated PERA retirement benefit increase, salary increases, a revenue reduction caused by the district losing some students, and revenue adjustments to account for tax revenue decreases.

Although schools are open today in the Grand Valley, plenty of other public buildings are not. Here’s a short list of places that won’t be open until Tuesday:

■ City of Grand Junction offices, excluding the police and fire departments. Trash pick-up will take place as usual and parking at metered spaces will be free today.

■ Mesa County offices, excluding emergency services such as criminal justice and the coroner’s office.

■ The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department Records Division and Inmate Visitation.

■ State offices, including driver’s license offices.

Today is a holiday for federal employees, according to the Office of Personnel Management website.

There will be no retail postal service or mail delivery today, except for Express Mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service website.

Most banks will be closed. Major U.S. stock exchanges will be closed today.


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