School board elections attract few candidates

Two Mesa County-based school districts will have uncontested school board races in November, and one will have a single contested seat for voters to decide.

School districts can opt out of having a school-board election if all candidates are running unopposed. But that didn’t stop Plateau Valley School District 50 from placing its two unopposed candidates, Michael Harvey in District A and Thomas Gately in District C, on the ballot. Harvey is an incumbent, and Gately is running for the seat of term-limited board member Tom Rau.

Plateau Valley Superintendent Greg Randall said the school board decided to pay the estimated $1,200 it will cost to have an election.

“(Board members) have had a philosophy now and in the past that it’s important for the person to be elected and not appointed, so they feel they have support of the community,” Randall said.

Ballots will be mailed to an estimated 1,200 residents in Plateau Valley School District boundaries, according to Mesa County Elections Director Catherine Lenhart.

De Beque School District 49-JT canceled its school-board election but still will appear on the Nov. 1 ballot with a mill levy override question. Candidates for the uncontested at-large seats, newcomer Rodney Graham and incumbents Travis Graham and Gary Coates, will be appointed by the board.

The Mesa County Elections Division will charge District 49-JT about $350 to participate in the election because the district has an override question on the ballot. Ballots with the question will be mailed to an estimated 370 people in Mesa County and 45 people in Garfield County. Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico estimated Garfield County will charge the district $250 to $300 for the election.

Districts will be charged for the election based on how many ballots are mailed, not how many questions each district asks. That’s why Mesa County Valley School District 51 will be charged an estimated $50,000, Lenhart said, to send ballots to about 60,000 voters inside its boundaries, despite having two questions on the ballot.

District 51 school board members approved the idea of placing a mill levy override on the November ballot, in part, because the question would be technically free of charge if the district already had a school board election on the ballot. The district had to have a school board election because District B has two candidates: incumbent Cindy Enos-Martinez and challenger Ann Tisue.

Jeff Leany is the sole candidate for the District A seat, currently held by Diann Rice, who is moving to Loveland.

A small portion of Mesa County voters will help decide the school board election for Delta County School District 50, the only race in Mesa County with multiple contenders for all seats. District One candidates are Jill Jurca, Barry Singleton and Kathy Svenson; District Three candidates are Mike Mason and Pete Blair; and Tom Mingen, John “Dave” Evans and Shelley Clement are competing for the District Five seat.

Mesa County will charge District 50 $250 for the election, the flat fee the elections department charges when 250 or fewer ballots are mailed for a particular question. Delta County does not have a cost estimate for the election yet, but Delta County Clerk and Recorder Ann Eddins said the county will charge the district less than $10,000 for the school board election.


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