Public Comment on Jeffco Funding & Amendment 73

ICYMI – Jonna’s public comment from the Jeffco Schools Board meeting on August 23rd, pertaining to Amendment 73, mill, and bond for Jeffco Schools.

Support Jeffco Kids is a key supporter of Amendment 73 (Great Schools, Thriving Communities). We are, in fact, the Jeffco Field Managers for the campaign and are very proud of the effort in Jeffco’s 4 senate districts to exceed the Amendment 71 requirement for signatures to get 73 on the ballot.

The $135 million additional annual revenue that Amendment 73 will bring to Jeffco is over 3 times the amount in 2012, when Jeffco voters last approved a $39 million mill levy override. It’s been duly noted this is done through a graduated income tax where 92% of the state’s filers will not be impacted. But a crucial piece of Amendment 73 that doesn’t get as much attention is how it stabilizes the local revenue going to our schools, and many of our taxpayers will even see a savings in their property taxes as a result. This is done by dropping and then freezing the current residential property tax rate from 7.2 to 7.0 percent ; and providing tax relief to our business property owners, farmers and ranchers by dropping their current Commercial Rate from 29 to 24 percent and freezing it. This only applies to the local school district funding. Property taxes levied by other local governments are unaffected.

Amendment 73 is a long term fix for funding public education – something our legislature has not been able to do.

And 73 stipulates local control. Each school district determines how the funds it receives will be spent. It’s a lot of money and you as a board will need to be transparent and clear with our taxpayers on how those funds will be used.

From a state perspective, we are finally in a position to look to the future. Colorado is ranked the 2nd highest performing economy in the nation. It’s time, as a community, to make some serious commitments and take some significant steps in making up for losses we endured during the tough years. Today more than any recent year, folks in our state (and in Jeffco) understand the need our public schools have for significantly more funding. They agree our teachers need better pay so they are no longer required to work two or three jobs to provide for their families, and can own a home in the same district they work in. They understand the difference early childhood education can make and that full day kindergarten should be funded where it’s offered. So now is the time to make these things happen.

We are ready. Coloradans don’t want to be listed among the states that underfund public education. In Jeffco, our community is ready. We want to be better. Be more. Give our kids more.

Thank you in advance for passing a resolution to support Amendment 73. I hope you will each wholeheartedly support it as well. My first Jeffco Mill/Bond campaign was in 2004, and there’s been one in Jeffco every 4 years since. I’d like to imagine a world where that cycle is no longer necessary and our kids have the kind of education they deserve and are entitled to.