The results of the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Board of Trustee elections, as of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, show the overwhelming passage of ballot questions 7A and 5A to annex the Salida School District into the CMC district. This will be the first time CMC has officially expanded its district in over 35 years. The last area annexed was Steamboat Springs.
In the Board of Trustee elections, the apparent winner for the seat in District 2 (Roaring Fork School District boundaries) is Marianne Virgili of Carbondale and in District 6 (Lake County School District) Bob Hartzell of Leadville.
Reached by phone in Salida, CMC President CEO Dr. Carrie Hauser said, “We are very excited as a college and on behalf of the Board of Trustees. It was a great statement that the community of Salida rallied and decided they wanted to be part of the college. The current district was clearly excited to say yes to have them join the district.”
She noted that as a result, students at CMC Salida campus will pay in-district tuition rates of $80 per credit hour rather than the out-of-district rates of $170.
Rachel Pokrandt, Colorado Mountain College vice president and campus dean for Leadville and Chaffee County, said, “We are honored that the communities of Salida and Poncha Springs have voted to join the Colorado Mountain College district. It is impressive for a community to make this type of investment in education for students and to support workforce development. CMC looks forward to meeting and exceeding the expectations of the community.
Salida Mayor P.T. Wood said, “We are incredibly excited. We’ve been working very closely with the school district on mutual goals. This gives us major opportunities moving forward.”
David Blackburn, superintendent for Salida School District, explained, “This allows us to set a pathway where partnerships and partnering are what we’re about. This really feels like the Salida way. It’s good to be part of the college. We will talk to all our partners on how we come together.”
Commenting on winning the District 2 seat, Virgili said she believed in affordable education, lifelong learning, and workforce development through education. She added “I want to keep CMC the most affordable bachelors’ degree program in the state. And just doing everything I can to offer education to everyone. I want to make sure every community is served. Salida passed. It was a great night for CMC.”
The unsuccessful District 2 candidate, Mary Nelle Axelson, said, “I really appreciate all of the people who supported me and my campaign, and I wish Marianne all the best in guiding the college into the future.”
Winning District 6 candidate, Bob Hartzell, who could not be immediately reached for comment, was the former CMC Campus Dean and was also integral in starting a nine-county leadership development program.
The newly-elected board members will be sworn in at the December meeting.