The Archuleta School District Board of Education will welcome two new members to its ranks at its next meeting (on Nov. 12) after Tuesday night’s election results showed Brooks Lindner defeating Timothy Taylor for the seat representing District 1 and Bruce Dryburgh surpassing Dwight Hooton in the District 5 race.
As of press time, there were still a few votes that need to be counted, Archuleta County Clerk and Recorder June Madrid explained to SUN staff, but as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the counting machine spit out its report on nearly 4,000 ballots collected from throughout the county, Lindner had 1,923 votes compared to Taylor’s 1,265 and Dryburgh had 1,715 as opposed to Hooton’s 1,466.
Taylor, who was appointed to the board in 2012, was the only incumbent. Dryburgh and Hooton were competing for the seat vacated by board president Linda Lattin, who had reached the end of her term limit. The Nov. 12 meeting will be Lattin’s last, and her first order of business, presumably after leading the board in the Pledge of Allegiance for the last time, will be to hand over the reins to vice president Ken Fox.
Lindner, who taught Spanish at Pagosa Springs High School for two years before starting his own curriculum development company, promised to do three things: engage the public in district matters, develop and implement understandable policy for the district and monitor all policies to ensure their effectiveness, and make informed decisions based upon long-term planning that assures academic growth for all students.
Dryburgh, who did the population projection for Bob Lynch’s community involvement task force last year, promised a commitment to the classroom, measurable progress in education through quantifiable goals set by the board for all schools, and value for the taxpayers through analysis of district spending and best use of funds.
Two other issues on the ballot concerned taxes for schools.
Amendment 66 would have raised the state individual income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income and to 5.9 percent for all taxable income over $75,000. The extra money — about $950 million annually — would have been used to fund public schools under a new formula distributing state and local money among school districts.
The measure would also have repealed a constitutional amendment requiring that base per-student public school funding increase by at least the rate of inflation annually. And it would have required that at least 43 percent of state income, sales and excise tax receipts be used for public education.
The measure failed in Archuleta County by a 2,898 to 1,002 vote, similar to what happened in the rest of the state, with more than 65 percent of Colorado voters rejecting the idea.
As a result, the state individual income tax rate will remain at 4.63 percent, and the financing formula for public schools will remain the same. The state will still be required to increase per-student public school funding by at least the rate of inflation annually. The proportion of state income, sales and excise tax revenues spent on public schools will continue to fluctuate, averaging 46 percent annually.
At the same time, voters did approve Proposition AA, which will place a 15-percent excise tax on the wholesale marijuana trade and a 10-percent sales tax on retail marijuana businesses. It is estimated this tax could generate $70 million worth of annual revenue for the state, of which the first $40 million will be dedicated to schools each year.
This was the next step in the implementation of Amendment 64, which was passed by Colorado voters last year and aimed to regulate the marijuana industry in a manner similar to alcohol. Many opponents of the ballot measure didn’t argue against the legalization of marijuana, but rather expressed concern that implementing too high of a tax on marijuana could drive the industry back into the hands of the black market.
A few select Archuleta County voters were also asked to decide additional issues. Fifty people who live within the Timber Ridge Metro district voted yes on Issue 5A, which allows for collecting taxes for operations and maintenance of the district, while only 10 voted against it. Seven people voted yes on a similar question for the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District while only four voted against it.
Of those Archuleta County residents living in the Bayfield School District, five voted for Carol Blatnick and five for Judy Spady, however, once the rest of the votes from La Plata County were tallied for the two-year term seat, Blatnick had 68 percent and Spady had 32.
For Bayfield’s four–year term seat, Timothy Stumpf garnered seven Archuleta county votes and 26 percent of the total votes, while Daniele Hillyer garnered three local votes and 24 percent of the total.
As the election results were being tallied Tuesday night, Madrid said 11 people mailed in ballots without signatures, and that statute requires they be notified by mail and allowed time to come down to the county courthouse and sign their ballots. They have until Nov. 13 to do so. In addition, those county residents serving overseas in the military have until Nov. 13 to get their ballots turned in. Madrid explained there are 40 such voters in the county.