Douglas County School District Board of Education authorizes bond and mill levy override for 2018 Ballot
Information provided by the Douglas County School District
The Douglas County School District Board of Education (BOE) has authorized bond and mill levy override (MLO) questions for the 2018 ballot. At the August 21 meeting, the BOE unanimously voted 6-0 (director Wendy Vogel was absent) to place before voters a $250 million bond and a $40 million mill levy override.
The average Douglas County homeowner, with a home valued at $470,000, will pay an additional $17.33 per month ($208 per year) if both measures are approved.
“We know having the best teachers in front of our children equals success,” said BOE President David Ray. “Currently, our neighbor to the north, Cherry Creek School District, receives $1,635 more per student in MLO funds. At our current student count, that would equate to more than $100 million each and every year.”
“That incredible discrepancy means our annual teacher salary is nearly $19,000 less, on average, than Cherry Creek. We simply must pay our staff more competitively in order to retain and recruit the best educators for our students.”
A mill levy override allows a school district to request more property tax revenue for day-to-day operational expenses than is provided by the Colorado Public School Finance Act. Unlike neighboring school districts, DCSD has not passed a mill levy override in 12 years. The $40 million in mill levy funds would address teacher/staff pay and school level funding, as well as provide counselors at elementary schools, and reduce counselor to student ratios at middle and high schools. Charter schools share in DCSD’s MLO on a 100-percent equal, per-student basis.
The BOE also authorized a $250 million bond for the 2018 ballot. The bond question would address capital needs of the District, including building systems and components (such as HVAC), security at all schools, information technology, and transportation. If passed by voters, the bond would also fix all Tier 1 needs identified in the DCSD Master Capital Plan and increase programmatic offerings including career and technical education.
“The MLO and bond are closely tied together because of past reliance on the general fund to pay for facility upgrades and repairs,” said Ray. “Without passing both of these funding initiatives, there will be a negative impact on programming, class sizes, extra-curricular activities and more. Transportation in DCSD and other services could be reduced to minimum levels. Our unmet capital needs will continue to grow and become more expensive – plus, we risk having to close a school or building if emergency repairs are needed.”
“This issue is clearly about how much value our community is willing to place on ensuring an excellent education for our children. We have heard loud and clear from our community that they want us to place these initiatives on the ballot out of grave concern for the impact it will have on today’s 68,000+ students, as well as those yet to come.”