Voters in Hotchkiss and Paonia may feel at loose ends in this election cycle, since ballots were mailed to residents in Crawford, Cedaredge, Orchard City and Delta -- but not to them. The need for a countywide election was eliminated when the number of candidates expressing interest in the Delta County 50J Board of Education matched the number of seats to be filled. A resolution adopted in October declared Richard Hypio, Ron Germann and Jan Tuin elected to the board. They will be sworn into office at the Nov. 16 school board meeting.
Germann (Delta area representative) and Tuin (Paonia area representative) are incumbents; Hypio replaces Tammy Smith, who was term-limited.
As he approached the end of his teaching career about five years ago, Richard Hypio said he began considering how he could continue to apply the insight he's gained into education. He thought of serving on the school board, an idea he discussed the idea off and on with Smith, the Hotchkiss area representative on the school board. When he learned she was term limited, he decided the timing would be right to seek election to that seat.
Knowing he would be seeking election to the school board, Hypio began attending school board meetings about a year ago. At Tammy Smith's request, he has served on the school district's policy review committee.
He believes his knowledge of the school district and his previous experience on the board of directors of Delta County Memorial Hospital enable him to look at the "big picture."
He says he has no "agenda"; he merely wants to support good decision-making for the entire school district.
"Schools are a lot like rural hospitals," he said, "trying to do the most you can with little. That's much what all the decisions are about -- how to use those resources best for kids."
Hypio trained as a surgical technician and since moving to Delta County, has split his career between the hospital operating room and the classroom. He didn't get his teaching degree until the age of 35. While his degree is in English education, he also taught P.E., weights, social studies and science. "I taught in Cedaredge, Delta and Hotchkiss, and coached in Paonia, so I feel like I know the communities and many of the teachers," Hypio said.
He served on the hospital board from 2000 to 2005, resigning when he decided to leave teaching and go back to the operating room.
Both the hospital and the school district have been good to him and his family, so Hypio welcomes the opportunity to give back. "I had that opportunity with the hospital, so it seemed logical to pursue the same opportunity with the school district."
Hypio and his wife, Anita Evans, moved to Delta County in 1989 and raised their two children here. Both graduated from Hotchkiss High School and obtained college degrees. Hypio recognizes that's not the best path for all students, so he appreciates the options Delta County Joint School District #50 provides for families, from preschool through the technical college. "The more opportunities we can offer kids, the better," he said.
He embraces the school district's forward-looking plans for the Technical College of the Rockies and the ENGAGE Center.
As one member of a five-member board, he said he realizes not every decision will be unanimous ... in fact, a dissenting vote can be good for discussion. But once a board decision is made, he is prepared to stand by it.
He describes himself as respectful and a good listener. "I'm not always great with a quick response," he said. "I tend to spend my time thinking about things."
He added his appreciation for Tammy Smith's service to the students and staff of the school district. "Tammy has been an anchor for a long time," he said. "She's an amazing person and I'm not expecting to fill her shoes, but I look forward to trying."
Jan Tuin was appointed to the school board in October 2012 following the resignation of Tom Mingen. He was subsequently elected to a four-year term (also unopposed). After five years, he said he doesn't feel his job in education is complete. "As a longtime educator, I want to do what I can to help School District 50 to serve our community and do what is best for our children to educate them and prepare them for productive, meaningful lives," he said in his school district biography.
Ron Germann was elected to the Delta County School Board in November 2013. He is currently board vice president and the board's liaison to the building committee. That committee oversees all construction in the school district, and is in the midst of planning the addition at Delta Middle School, renovation of the ENGAGE Center, and remodeling of the bank building that will be home to the district office. "We have so many projects that I want to see finished," he said.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.