School District 51 Board of Education members on Monday unanimously approved putting a $179.5 million bond measure on the November ballot to rebuild Grand Junction High School and upgrade three other high schools.
If approved, the measure would increase residential property taxes in District 51 boundaries by nearly $80 a year on a $300,000 home, or $6.67 per month.
The ballot language approved Monday is to replace Grand Junction High School with a new facility at the existing site and to renovate Central, Palisade and Fruita Monument high schools.
The bond would fund construction for security vestibules, enclosed courtyards, removing exterior entrances and other renovations at those three high schools.
Board President Tom Parrish said he has some concerns about asking voters for more money so soon after the 2017 bond measure that passed.
"But unfortunately, Grand Junction High School may not have enough in it to wait," he said.
Parrish said a key factor in asking voters to approve another bond now was the thought of spending $5 million to repair a building that will soon need to be torn down.
If the bond measure is approved, the $5 million allocated for Grand Junction High School from the 2017 bond measure would be put toward the new building instead.
"As a taxpayer I would have serious questions if I knew a board had $5 million they put into a building they were going to tear down and then want more money to replace it," Parrish said.
The school board debated putting either a $179.5 million or $183.5 million bond on the ballot, because the higher price tag provided more room for unplanned expenses.
Chief Operations Officer Phil Onofrio told the board that either amount would work for the listed projects.
"I think what we're really giving up is the chance to do something with that (money) additionally," he said.
Board member John Williams said based on that, he "couldn't imagine" asking voters for the higher amount.
"I think it's symbolic, I think it's a level of trust and I think you ask for what you think you're going to need, making the best projections you can," he said.
The meeting was attended by dozens of people, including Fruita Middle School teacher Casey Hawley, who wanted to ask board members to approve the lower bond amount.
"I think it will make it easier on tax payers and I think you need to make the bond what you need it for," she said. "Grand Junction High School is really struggling and falling apart. If we don't fund it now, we're going to need to fund it down the road."