School Mill Levy Reform

During the January 9 school board meeting, the Jeffco School Board discussed a resolution for their next business meeting to support legislation for a Uniform Statewide School Levy.

https://go.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/files/BKMVNV814DC5/$file/RESOLUTION%20mill%20levy%20equalization%20discussion.pdf

And if you were listening to the State of the State address by Governor Polis (or read the attached Chalkbeat article) you may have heard him mention that the state spends far too much money backfilling some of the wealthiest (school) districts in the state (and the country, for that matter.)

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2020/01/09/jared-polis-2020-state-of-the-state-education/

This backfill referred to is part of and a result of a quagmire of Constitutional amendments, including TABOR, that have left our state with a Budget Stabilization Factor of over half a billion dollars – those are funds owed to our students.  Essentially, legislators (& the Governor) are looking to many school districts to provide more funding from a local base so the state isn’t stuck “backfilling” quite so much – from funds it simply does not have; and especially for those school districts that have not DeBruced and/or have the tax base to fund more of their share.

It’s confusing to say the least.

To better understand the issue behind the Governor’s comments today, and the move by the Jeffco School Board, and likely many other school boards around the state, watch this 3 minute video, courtesy of The Colorado Fiscal Institute,

This Chalkbeat article from April 2019 also talks about mill levy reform, explains a little more of the issue and how legislators are looking to reform it.  If you read all the way to the end, there’s an interactive map that will help you see how each district in Colorado would be affected by an effort to equalize our school mill levies

https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2019/04/05/will-colorado-reform-its-checkerboard-of-school-taxes-not-this-year/

Legislators are in a tough spot.  They need to figure out how to better fund schools, transportation, and many other state-provided services, without having the ability to write legislation that would increase the revenue to do it.