downtown Salida, Colorado

Colorado Mountain College in Salida

In August 2018, the Salida School District (SSD) approached Colorado Mountain College (CMC) to inquire about annexation into the CMC district. As part of the college’s service area for the past 50 years, Salida has received limited educational services as set out in state law. Joining the CMC district with the associated property tax mill levy would increase CMC services to the community at one of the state’s most affordable tuition rates – and make Salida a true college town.

Since the school district approached the college in 2018, the community, the SSD and CMC have engaged in a community-wide conversation regarding growth, workforce development needs, community education options and the opportunities that might open up to the community if voters were to approve the annexation.

A CMC Feasibility Study  outlines what the financials, programming and partnership structure might look like in the event that the Salida and Poncha Springs communities join the CMC district. The CMC Board of Trustees has voted to accept this study and sees Salida as a viable community for annexation.

On August 13, the Salida School District voted to place an annexation measure on the ballot in the fall of 2019. At the August 28 meeting of the CMC Board of Trustees, CMC trustees also voted to place an annexation measure on the ballot this fall. This web page is intended to provide factual background information to those in Salida and Poncha Springs, as well as to those within the existing CMC district. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

How Annexation Works

Colorado Mountain College was founded in 1965 and started offering classes in 1967. The original charter included a provision for communities – as defined by K-12 school district boundaries – to annex into the college district. Therefore CMC comprises a collection of school districts across 12,000 square miles.

By state law, annexation requires approval of voters of both SSD and the existing CMC district. If SSD voters approve annexation, their property tax bills will include a new 3.997 mill levy to pay for CMC services.  If voters do not approve the proposal, their tax bill would not include this mill levy.

Annexation will allow students from Salida and Poncha Springs to enjoy the same, highly affordable tuition rate that others in the district enjoy, as well as to access increased programming that reflects the needs of the community, its students, its school district and its businesses and employers.

The CMC business model

Colorado Mountain College, a unique local district college, is primarily funded through local property taxes, much like a school district. This community support makes it possible for CMC to run courses with smaller class sizes, offer enriching lifelong learning classes to local residents, and offer programs that otherwise might be costly to deliver. Larger colleges and universities in the state’s more urban areas rely on large numbers of students to fund their tuition-based business model. In order to run a college in rural mountain areas, where populations are smaller and therefore enrollments lower, CMC’s business model helps it respond to community needs first and foremost.

CMC Governance

Colorado Mountain College is governed by a locally elected board of trustees, from represented school districts. If annexation were to occur, residents of SSD would vote in future CMC Board of Trustee elections.

CMC Facts

CMC is proud of its service to students and to the district communities. Please see the CMC Facts Page for more data regarding CMC demographics, class sizes, enrollment, performance metrics and labor market outcomes.

Please keep checking this page for more information and updates.

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