By now I hope that all business owners are aware that November’s ballot brings two critical measures aimed at funding our K-12 education system: a bond for much-needed facility maintenance and facility improvements within School District 51, and a mill levy override that adds more days to the school year and additional funds for curriculum improvements. The Chamber board voted to support both measures back in July, and is pleased that the School Board adopted our suggestion of putting a sunset on the mill levy override. The Chamber urges you to support both measures on the November ballot.
As usual, businesses will pay the lion’s share of the property tax increase. But then, we as businesses also have the most to gain: Our future workforce includes the students sitting in the crumbling Orchard Mesa Middle School, and the students being shortchanged with fewer classroom instruction days than their peers elsewhere. Properly funding our schools is a key component to the success of these future employees and business owners. Is there room for improvement within the School District? Certainly. But School District 51 has shown itself to be a committed partner in improving education and in working with the Chamber on a number of workforce development initiatives, like CareerWise and Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
Lost in some of the ballot issue discussions is the fact that three seats of the five-member School Board are up for election this fall. As of our publication deadline, incumbents John Williams and Tom Parrish have announced their intentions to seek re-election. (Board member Greg Mikolai is term limited.)
We don’t yet know who else will be running for these critical School Board positions, but we do know that the Chamber will be hosting a School Board Candidate Forum at the Chamber’s Quarterly Membership Luncheon, 12:00 p.m. on September 18th at Colorado Mesa University. This luncheon, sponsored by Conquest Development, gives the business community an opportunity to hear about education priorities directly from the candidates themselves. My law firm, Ireland Stapleton Pryor & Pascoe, P.C., is proud to sponsor the candidate forum portion of the luncheon because we think it is vitally important that Chamber members be informed about their School District 51 leadership choices. I urge you to attend this luncheon. Reservations can be made online or by calling the Chamber office at 242-3214. The decisions we all make today as a community on this and other education matters will help shape the community and business climate of the future.
Speaking of the future, the Chamber Board is preparing for its annual planning session and wants Chamber owners—our member businesses—to give us feedback on how we are doing and what we should be doing. To that end, we will be sending a survey through the Western Association of Chamber Executives in September; we ask that you take the time to complete it. The survey will provide a lot of information that your Board will use to plan the future of the Chamber. Look for it and help us plan the future of the organization you have invested in!
Click here to download full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce September 2017 Newsletter.