It’s official: West Grand passes mill levy
The West Grand School District mill levy has officially passed.
Election results have been made official, and the measure won by nine votes. There were 1,037 votes cast on the ballot question asking to raise $550,000 for the school district covering western Grand County and a piece of Summit County.
The 987 Grand County voters preferred the measure by three votes, while the 50 voters in Summit preferred the measure by six.
Results have been certified, meaning canvassing has been completed and the count is considered accurate.
The margin between the yes and no votes is at 0.86%, and just 0.606% for Grand County alone. Automatic recounts are required if the margin between the voters is less than half of a percent, so there will not be a recount of the votes.
West Grand School Board member Shawn Lechman said the community’s support and engagement is critical to the school district.
“As we have discussed with many people, the opportunities that the passing of 5A will give the West Grand School District is amazing,” Lechman said in a statement. “Ensuring we will be able to put dollars towards teachers salaries along with forecasting of maintaining (and) improving infrastructure.”
The measure increases the mill levy for the West Grand School District to 22.944 on top of the 6.921 mills for the district’s bond measure, which expires in 2026. The increase will cost West Grand taxpayers $32.35 more annually per $100,000 of residential property.
“I’m grateful that our community voted to support our school district financially, in the short term but also for the long-term,” West Grand Superintendent Elizabeth Bauer said. “It shows our stakeholders are committing to helping us continue the things we do well and work on growing where we need to improve.”
The funds raised by the mill levy will go toward deferred maintenance, like updating facilities, technology and safety at the schools. The money will also be used for salaries and benefits to help recruit and retain staff and faculty members.
Bauer explained that while there are many projects to do, the district would like to take care of employees first.
“We will begin planning very early, as spending and budgeting is always a process,” she said. “Our salary and benefits committee as well as our district accountability committee will meet this upcoming month to begin research and planning. Capital planning and budgeting also will be underway.”
School district officials previously said they have spent the past few years getting by through conservative spending, reliance on grants and deferring maintenance. For example, West Grand High School would not have had heat this winter without the assistance of COVID-19 grant money, and the K-12 building is in desperate need of HVAC upgrades.
The district has quite a few vacancies, including a high school special education teacher, high school STEM teacher and middle school math teacher along with a need for more paraprofessionals, custodians and bus drivers. Due to budget cuts, West Grand eliminated several positions a couple years ago including both schools’ library paraprofessionals and extra stipends for club and activity work.
Final spending decisions will be made by the school board.
“I want to thank all of the voters and our community for investing in the future of West Grand schools,” Bauer added.
With these results, voters across Grand County passed all four tax questions presented to them in the 2021 election. East Grand School District OK’d a bond measure, while Grand Fire and Grand EMS also received mill levy increases.
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