The one education initiative approved by Jeffco voters is 5A (5B and Amendment 73 were not approved). Here are the details of how this money will be spent:
Mill Levy Increase – $33M to supplement annual operations
- 50% of funds would support our ability to compete with neighboring school districts to hire and retain great teachers and staff at all schools
- 20% for school safety & security and increased mental health support
- 10% to expand career/technical education and STEM options for students
- 10% to improve classroom materials and technology
- 10% expand full-day early childhood education
- Taxpayer cost: $2.10/month per $100k home value
On the mill levy override (funds for teachers and ongoing expenses), the ballot question specifies that the tax increase for 2018-19 is $33 million (and increasing with inflation thereafter). The mill levy ballot question also directs that funds be used for the following purposes:
- Expanding programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and in career/technical education;
- Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers by ensuring the district is able to be competitive in compensation and benefits for teachers and staff;
- Improving student safety by increasing mental health and counseling professionals to improve student mental health services, including suicide prevention and substance abuse counseling;
- Updating aged and outdated instructional resources such as books, supplies, and technology; and
- Increasing early education programs.
The mill levy language goes on to state some restrictions and accountability provisions. These are:
No revenue … will be used for senior district administration;
The spending … will be reviewed by the citizen’s financial oversight advisory committee; and
The funds are subjected to an annual independent audit.
There are clearly more needs in a state that funds education less than Alabama and Mississippi, such as the $1.3 Billion in facility needs and the Recommendations from the Safety and Security Task Force. There will be several things that cannot be funded and because Jeffco receives funding approximately $4000 per pupil below the national average, needs will continue to be unmet. Additionally, without the Gallagher/TABOR fix, the additional funds will continue to ratchet down and voters will need to be asked to fund education again in a few years because of this rate drop.
We should all assist our board in being good stewards of taxpayer dollars in ensuring that the above promises are kept and money is very carefully allocated in ways that impact ALL children or as many children as possible and not just a few. Jeffco won’t be able to be as innovative without that cash influx Amendment 73 would have created.
Please join us in advocating! If you want to be on the SJK Advocacy Team, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.