Election Day 2019 results: Voters pass mill levies for Aztec, Bloomfield schools

Hannah Grover Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
Students use computers, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, paid for using mill funding at Aztec High School.

FARMINGTON — Voters in the Aztec and Bloomfield school districts gave a vote of confidence to their schools' leadership teams Nov. 5, voting in favor of proposed mill levies that will allow the districts to avoid making some tough budget decisions.

The mill levy passed with 59 percent of the vote in Aztec, while the proposal was adopted with better than 60 percent of the vote in Bloomfield.

Aztec Superintendent Kirk Carpenter was pleased with the results.

"We're thankful and feel like this is appropriate," he said. "We were able to be transparent and get the right information out to voters."

Carpenter said the decision to hold an election dedicated almost solely to education-related issues and public offices instead of combining it with races in which partisan political offices are decided was a wise choice.

"It never should have been there in the first place," he said. "A school election should never be mixed with politics. It doesn't belong in a political election. I felt like this was an appropriate place for it."

Kirk Carpenter

Carpenter said Aztec is a great community that has always supported the district.

"We worked very hard at this to make sure we were very transparent about the mill funding and what it does for our district," he said.

Bloomfield Superintendent Kim Mizell said her main reaction was relief, as she was not confident voters were going to support the measure.

"We really put a lot of work into this one to educate people and get the word out," she said.

Mizell said she had not heard any personal opposition expressed by citizens to the levy, but there were rumors of grumbling voters, and she said there were instances in which signs supporting the levy had been pulled out of the yards of supporters. So she was nervous headed into Election Day.

Kim Mizell

"We desperately needed the money," she said.

Mizell said she likely would celebrate by taking donuts to work with her the next day.

"The community support came through today," she said.

The Aztec Municipal School District asked voters to approve extending a 1.886 mill levy, meaning for every property owners would pay nearly $1.89 for every $1,000 of taxable value. The money generated funds for technology purchases, as well as maintenance.

Meanwhile, the Bloomfield School District asked voters to approve extending a 2-mill levy, which also allows Bloomfield to maintain schools and buy technology.

This is the second time this year the two districts have asked voters to approve mill levies. Voters rejected extending the 2-mill levy for Bloomfield and increasing the 1.886 mill levy to 2-mills in Aztec earlier this year during a special, mail ballot election in February.

MORE:Aztec, Bloomfield school districts seek to continue existing mill levy

In an opinion piece published prior to the election, Bloomfield School Board President Dale Maes said the 2-mill levy will allow the district to add a soccer field to Bloomfield High School and fix a leaking roof at Naaba Ani Elementary School that forced the school to close a wing of the building. It would also allow the district to increase school security and repair heating and air conditioning at several schools in the district. 

Meanwhile, the Aztec Municipal School District sent out postcards before the election stating that after school programs would be canceled if the mill levy does not pass.

Aztec released a series of videos leading up to the election highlighting some of the things purchased using mill funding, including uniforms and instruments for the band program, helmets for the football team, activity buses and laptops.

Without the mill funding, the districts would have to cut spending in other areas, which could lead to increased class sizes and reduced extracurricular activities such as athletics.

Aztec, Bloomfield school board election results

In the only school board race in either district, state Rep. Paul Bandy claimed victory in the race for the position one seat on the Aztec school board. He drew nearly 51 percent of the votes to defeat Ryan Frost, 32 percent, and Tamie Rana Hemmingson, who got more than 17 percent of the votes despite having withdrawn.

Paul Bandy

Bandy said he was pleased with the turnout, noting it was much better than it has been in previous years.

"I'm happy that I won the election, I'll do my best to represent the district on the school board," he said.

Laci Phillips will be joining the Aztec school board following the election after running unopposed for position four on the board. Meanwhile, Roger Collins won another term after his opponent, Linda Reynolds, dropped out of the race.

Meanwhile, Steven Joel Gunn and Dale Maes won the district one and district three positions for the Bloomfield school board.