More than half a billion dollars in property tax revenue is being sought by 35 Colorado school districts in the Nov. 1 election, primarily to build or renovate buildings and to bolster operating budgets that have been squeezed by losses in state aid.

LogoThe bulk of the revenue, about $480 million, is being sought for bond issues.

About a dozen districts, many of them small, are seeking a total of more than $50 million in bond funds to match potential grants from the state’s Building Excellent Schools Today program. Five of those districts, including Englewood and Sheridan in the metro area, are on the BEST waiting list. Even if those voters approve the bonds, the districts won’t receive state money unless some districts higher up the priority list lose their elections.

Only four districts, Falcon, Douglas County, Englewood and Pueblo County, are seeking both bonds and operating increases.

The more than $560 million proposed by local districts this year is less than the total that was on ballots in 2010, when 31 districts sought $738 million in bond issues and operating revenue increases.

Despite concerns that economic woes would dampen voter interest in raising taxes, districts did pretty well last fall. Voters approved $595.8 million in bonds and operating increases and rejected only $142.5 million worth.

Information & Links

Here are snapshots of and links to information about tax proposals in larger districts, listed in order of enrollment size.

Douglas County – $200 million bond issue for facilities, technology and other spending and $20 million of increased spending authority for operations, including a pay-for-performance program. Info

Mesa 51 – $12.5 million of increased taxing authority for eight years to restore teaching positions, add technology and stabilize revenues. Info

Thompson – $12.8 million, 12-year override to fund class size, new programs and technology. Info

Brighton – $4.8 million override to maintain class sizes, buy instructional materials and reduce fees. (A 2010 override was defeated.) Info

Falcon –$85 million bond issue for construction and a $5 million override. (Voters rejected a bond issue last year.) Info

Pueblo County –$35 million bond issue for facilities and a $3.4 million override to reduce class sizes, restore teaching jobs and expand vocational programs. Info

Eagle County – $6 million override to maintain class sizes, reduce cutbacks in extracurricular activities and replace buses and computers. Info

Smaller districts seeking large bond issues include Englewood ($50 million) and Archuleta County/Pagosa Springs ($49 million).

List and summaries of proposals statewide by the Colorado School Finance Project

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