Two school board candidates oppose mill-levy override

School District 51 Board of Education candidates Arvan “Jeff” Leany and Ann Tisue said Wednesday they likely will vote against a mill levy override question on the Nov. 1 ballot.

The override will appear as Referred Measure 3B and was placed on the ballot by the current board. If approved, 3B will increase local property taxes by 7 mills for six years. In the first year of the override, 2012, the measure would generate an extra $12.5 million for educational purposes in the district, including rehiring teachers and covering budget cuts.

Tisue said she encourages voters to research the override and decide for themselves how they want to vote. Personally, she said she probably will vote no.

“If small businessmen are hanging on by a thread, they may go out of business because of the tax impact, and then the override may not even receive the amount of money the district is looking for,” said Tisue, owner of Redlands-based Three Sigma Corp., which makes products for the military.

Leany also runs a small business. The president and co-owner of Starvin Arvin’s restaurants in the area said he believes there “has to be a different avenue to dealing with” budget cuts.

“If we get to a point where businesses won’t come here because our tax structure is too high, it’s a nail in our coffin,” Leany said.

Incumbent School Board member and candidate Cindy Enos-Martinez also helps run a family business, Martinez Trucking. She said she voted to place the override on the ballot because the board cut more than $28 million over a three-year period, and she’s worried about losing more teachers in future budget cuts.

“We have to do something to make sure we have a sufficient amount of teachers for our students and make sure our classrooms don’t get so large that teachers are overwhelmed,” she said.

Enos-Martinez, a 57-year-old Riverside resident, and Redlands resident Tisue, 64, will face off in District B. The two candidates agreed a little competition is healthy.

“It makes campaigning a little more interesting,” Enos-Martinez said.

“It’s a challenge getting your name out there, but I think people are ready for some new ideas,” Tisue said.

Enos-Martinez said she is interested in mitigating the effect of budget cuts on students if she gets elected to a second term.

Tisue, if elected, said she is interested in making students and teachers accountable for grades.

Leany, a 54-year-old Fruita resident, is running unopposed for the District A seat. He said he is interested in basing teacher pay and retention on performance.

“I think tenure is an obstacle to that ... I’d like to see it go away,” he said.

The Mesa County Elections Division will mail ballots Oct. 11 for the Nov. 1 election. Elections Director Catherine Lenhart estimated District 51 will pay about $50,000 for the mail-in election. That amount is determined based on how many ballots are mailed, not how many questions are on the ballot.


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