What is a mill levy override?
A Mill Levy Override is a ballot measure that asks voters living in a school district boundary to approve the collection of additional “mills” on property taxes, above what is allowed by the state of Colorado. That additional tax collection is then directly distributed to the local school district. This is the ONLY way a school district can collect additional operational dollars.
How many school district in Colorado receive funding through a Mill Levy Override?
In Colorado, 89 percent of all students are in school districts that receive funding through a Mill Levy Override. Out of 178 school districts in Colorado, 119 receive additional funding through a Mill Levy Override. District 6 is the largest school district in the state without a Mill Levy Override.
How does the per pupil funding compare in school districts throughout Northern Colorado?
WELD PAWNEE $ 16,976.35 $1,663.73 $18,640.08 WELD BRIGGSDALE $14,353.18 $3,736.41 $18,089.59 WELD PRAIRIE $13,211.56 $370.26 $13,581.82 WELD PLATTE VALLEY $8,486.96 $2,211.24 $10,698.20 LARIMER ESTES PARK $8,819.31 $1,797.09 $10,616.41 WELD GILCREST $8,351.72 $2,087.41 $10,439.13 WELD KEENESBURG $8,124.53 $2,043.74 $10,168.27 WELD AULT $8,755.99 $1,054.10 $9,810.09 WELD FORT LUPTON $8,492.61 $1,201.39 $9,694.00 LARIMER POUDRE $8,366.11 $1,249.30 $9,615.41 LARIMER THOMPSON $7,965.18 $920.40 $8,885.58 WELD EATON $8,051.61 $637.44 $8,689.05 WELD WINDSOR $7,965.68 $661.47 $8,627.15 WELD JOHNSTOWN $7,965.68 $138.01 $8,103.69 WELD GREELEY $7,325.95 $ - $7,325.95
What is the money going to be used for?
There are four basic areas where the additional funding will be used: safety and security; recruiting and retaining high-quality staff; technology; and student achievement, including college and career readiness. In addition, charter schools will receive an equal, per-pupil allocation from the Mill Levy Override. Here is how the money will be spent in those four areas:
Safety and Security: Purchase and install security cameras at high schools and middle schools; secure an improved badging system to regulate staff access to schools; critical maintenance on buildings and replacement of old school buses.
Recruit and Retain High-Quality Staff: Maintain class size through current staffing ratios and ensure staffing stability.
Technology: Purchase computers and digital content to support academic programs, and increase and improve internet access at schools.
Student achievement; college and career readiness: Purchase updated textbooks and learning materials, expand summer school and after school learning opportunities and ensure workforce readiness.
I thought schools were getting money from marijuana taxes. Why can’t you just use that money to make up for what a Mill Levy Override would generate?
In 2013, voters approved Proposition AA, which allowed the state to levy up to a 15 percent excise tax on unprocessed marijuana and up to 15 percent tax on retail marijuana. The first $40 million collected annually goes into the Building Excellent Schools Today grants. All 178 school districts in Colorado compete for these grant dollars. To date, District 6 has received two of these BEST grants to replace two school roofs, for a total of about $1.2 million. District 6 must fund matching dollars for these grants, a little more than $600,000. With more than $300 million in deferred maintenance in District 6 alone, these grants, while beneficial, do not address all the needs in our school district or any school district in Colorado. Simply put, marijuana tax dollars do not raise enough revenue to meet all the needs of public schools in Colorado and the money from the tax comes with strings attached. For more information visit https://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/20160902marijuanarevenue.
I don’t have kids in school. Why should I pay more taxes for District 6?
Many District 6 graduates stay or return to this community to become our doctors, lawyers, business owners, teachers, parents and citizens. If you don’t now have children in District 6 schools, maybe you did previously in life and relied on other taxpayers to support their education. Maybe you have grandchildren or nieces and nephews in District 6 schools. We are sure you have neighbors and friends who have children in our public schools. Regardless, many believe it is the responsibility of the entire community to help educate our children. This ballot measure is a direct investment in students.
Why is District 6 asking for more funding?
District 6 is one of the lowest funded school districts in the state of Colorado, ranking 168 out of 178 school districts. This makes it difficult for District 6 to offer all the programs and services our students need and our families want. It also creates inequities among school districts surrounding District 6, which all have additional Mill Levy Override dollars to provide educational opportunities for their students. District 6 is the only school district in Weld County without a mill levy override. We believe a strong school district contributes to a strong community. District 6 is at a tipping point: It simply can’t continue to scrape by and provide for the educational needs of all its students without additional, local funding. This is an investment in our children and an investment in our communities.
Why doesn’t the school district cut administrators to fund its classroom needs?
District 6 is the third largest employer in Weld County with more than 2,700 employees. District 6 also educates more than 22,000 students every day. That means that there is a need for administrative positions to manage this large organization, such as Human Resources and Finance, as well as administrators to support our educators in schools. Since being hired in 2015, Superintendent Dr. Deirdre Pilch has cut 14 positions at the central administration offices, saving more than $2 million in salaries. Three new positions were created to focus on educating non-English speaking students, equity and access, and secondary school leadership. Overall, less than 3 percent of all District 6 employees are central administrators.
Who is paying for this MLO campaign?
All the money for this campaign is coming from private donations given to the Growing Great Schools Yes on 3A campaign. No District 6 resources can be used for the campaign once the ballot language is approved, according to the Fair Campaign Practices Act. All donors who give more than $20 will be identified publicly through reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.
Will charter schools receive any money from the MLO?
Absolutely. Charter schools will get an equal share of the additional per-pupil funding based on their enrollment numbers.
How much is this going to cost me as a residential property owner?
The school district is seeking 10 additional mills on all residential and commercial property. This will cost about $72 per year on every $100,000 of assessed valuation. That is $6 a month. For a home valued at $300,000, that would be $18 a month.
How can I be sure the money will be used for what the school district has promised to fund?
Greeley-Evans School District 6 is committed to complete transparency when it comes to budgeting and finances. It has won national and state awards for its transparency and financial reporting. A website page outlining how the money from the Mill Levy Override is spent will be available once the measure is approved. In addition, a Citizens' Oversight Committee will be created and comprised of 8-16 District 6 residents from diverse backgrounds with diverse experiences. The Chief Financial Officer and the Finance Director will be included in advisory positions to the committee. The remainder of the Citizens' Oversight Committee will be comprised of residents and taxpayers of the school district.This oversight group will monitor the spending of the MLO dollars and report out to the community.
Is the Mill Levy Override forever, or will it sunset?
Yes, the Mill Levy Override will end, or sunset, in seven years. That means if District 6 wanted to continue using these funds it would again have to ask voters to continue the Mill Levy Override, or it would end in 2023.
Why can’t the school district ask for money from a sales tax instead of a property tax?
School districts are not funded through local sales tax, and cannot legally seek sales tax money for additional funding. The only funding a public school district can seek is an increase in residential and commercial property tax through a Mill Levy Override.