Jeffco School Board to vote whether to put mill, bond on ballot

The Jeffco School Board will host a special meeting today, Thursday, Aug. 23 to discuss and vote on whether to put a mill levy override and bond on the November ballot.

Before the discussion, board members will listen to public comment about the mill levy override and bond proposals. People wishing to address the board may sign up online to speak to the board. The online sign up will be available through 3 pm Thursday.

Because school board members have the option to put a mill levy override or a bond or both on the ballot, there will be separate votes for each item.

Proposed Bond Package

The district is recommending the board approve a $567 million bond package that, if approved, would:

  • Improve schools and classrooms to current standards for instruction
  • Improve safety and security
  • Address deferred maintenance
  • Expand career and technical education sites
  • Expand early childhood education
  • Add new schools and additions in high-growth areas
  • Provide major renovations to high schools built before 1980
  • Support charter school building needs

Bond funds may only be used for construction and capital improvements and not for operating costs.

The Jeffco Schools Capital Asset Advisory Committee (CAAC), which advises board members and district staff about the conditions of school buildings and long-range planning, supports putting a bond on the ballot.

“We also believe it is important to recognize the recent success of the 2012-2016 Capital Improvement Program (CIP), as well as the continued foresight of capital asset planning during these challenging times,” CAAC members wrote in their recommendation. “The Capital Asset Advisory Committee commends the district for its continued diligence in fiscal responsibility which includes the ongoing capital asset planning.”

Proposed Mill Levy Override

The district also recommends that the school board put a $33 million mill levy override on the ballot. The funds would largely be used to improve and enhance educational options. The district proposal calls for splitting the funds as follows:

  • 50 percent would be used for salaries to increase competitiveness with neighboring districts
  • 20 percent would be used for school safety and security, including for mental health support, counseling, and other security measures
  • 10 percent would be used to expand career, technical education and STEM options
  • 10 percent would be used for instructional resources, supplies, and technology
  • 10 percent would be used to expand full day early childhood education
  • 10 percent would be shared with Jeffco’s charter schools

Mill levy override funds pay for operating expenses within the district. In addition, the proposal states that none of the mill levy funds would be used for senior central administration, and that the funds will be monitored by a citizen oversight committee.

The Financial Oversight Committee, another Jeffco Schools advisory committee, also recommended the school board put a mill and bond on the November ballot.

Amendment 73

School board members will also vote on whether to adopt a resolution supporting Amendment 73, a statewide initiative that would increase education funding for all Colorado school districts through an income tax on taxpayers or corporations that earn more than $150,000 per year.

More information about how Jeffco Schools would use additional funding from any or all of the above options to improve education is available on the district website.

If the board approves a mill and/or bond on the November ballot, the next step will be to finalize the ballot language. That vote will take place on Sept. 6 if the board votes to move ahead with the measures.

The board meeting begins at 5 pm and will be held in the board room on the fifth floor of the Education Center, located at 1829 Denver West Dr., Bldg. 27, in Golden. The meeting will also be streamed online.

Lisa Cook

Lisa Cook, Ph.D., is a writer, editor, musicologist and Jeffco resident since 1999 with two children attending Jeffco Schools. Lisa earned a BA from Valparaiso University, a Masters in Music from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. When not working, she can be found running (ideally on mountain trails) with Midnight, her miniature poodle. Please visit our "About Us" page to learn more about Lisa and our other writers.

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