Don’t Call it a Comeback!


Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, Managing Editor

For those watching, election night was a bit of a mixed bag for Jeffco public school funding.  Mill Levy 5A was passing with just over 54% of the vote. The $33 million measure would go towards teacher raises, security, and other school programs.  It was a small but welcome step after a similar measure failed in 2016.  However, the bill’s companion, the $567 bond known as 5B, was down over 8000 votes.  Most news agencies called the race over and stopped reporting on it.  And then something interesting started to happen on Wednesday morning.  County commissioners started to count from more rural areas, and provisional ballots from overseas.  Suddenly the margin began to narrow.  First signs showed a 4000 disparity, then 2000, then 240, and amazingly by Thursday night, Just 142 votes separated the measure.  School officials dared to hope.  Could this finally be the year?
The last time Jefferson county passed a school measure was 2012 when a $99 million bond was passed to pay for repairs.  But substantial improvement  initiatives failed in 2008 and 2016.  You would have to go all the way back to 2004 for the last major public school victory.  Since that time, school like Bear Creek and Golden have been rebuilt, and building Candelas  has zapped a lot of the district’s resources.  This has led schools like Green Mountain to be in desperate need of repairs for the air conditioning,  the school gym, and the sad state of the athletic fields.  The administration has done its best to keep the school running, but there was only so much that could be done with so little funding.
Which is why 5B was so important.  And it appears that voters in Jeffco finally realized it.  On Friday, the measure miraculously inched ahead, and on Saturday morning it appears the lead has grown to over 1200.  Its unprecedented, and officials are still pinching themselves trying to believe this just happened.