Mixed results for Garfield County school tax measures
Two Garfield County school tax measures suffered resounding defeats in Tuesday’s election, while a third was headed toward approval by voters.
Voters defeated a $3 million mill levy override in the Garfield County Re-2 School District, which serves Rifle through New Castle, 2,832 to 1,673. Meanwhile, a $4.8 million override for Garfield County School District 16 in Parachute fell 715 to 498.
A $4.8 million override for the Roaring Fork Re-1 School District, which extends from Glenwood Springs to Basalt, was approved in Garfield and Pitkin counties by a 3,816 to 3,330 vote, and was leading comfortably in Eagle County in early voting.
All of the districts were seeking to counter the impacts of cutbacks in state funding. Garfield 16 also had proposed funding for other purposes such as full-day kindergarten and building and technology needs.
Garfield Re-2 simply hoped to maintain current service levels in anticipation of further state cuts. District spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton said she was surprised by the margin of defeat, and said the economy played a factor in the outcome.
“When the board made the decision to ask the community for their support, they realized it was a difficult economic climate,” Hamilton said.
She said the district will now engage in “some very heartfelt conversations” with its communities about how to provide programs and services during the next school year.
In other election results:
• Patrick Burwell defeated Troy Feese 2,001 to 1225 in the only contested Garfield Re-2 school board race. Also elected as unopposed candidates were incumbents Chris Pearson and Scott Doherty.
• Myles Rovig, the only Roaring Fork incumbent school board member running in this year’s election, was headed to defeat by Daniel Biggs. He lost 3,115 to 1,631 in Garfield and Pitkin counties and was losing in Eagle County. Rovig’s defeat comes at a time when the district has been the target of criticism about its decision not to retain Sonya Hemmen, a longtime principal at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, and over allegations it hasn’t been responsive to public concerns.
Also in the Roaring Fork board election, Terry Lott Richardson was headed to victory over Phil Weir, winning 2,629 to 2,168 in Garfield and Pitkin counties and leading in Eagle County. Matthew Hamilton ran unopposed.
• A $775,000-per-year tax measure for the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District was approved, 1,952 to 1,264.
• Garfield County’s Clerk and Recorder Office said almost 57 percent of ballots mailed out were returned, for a turnout rivaling that of general election years.