Jefferson County Public Schools is asking voters to approve a $99 million bond issue and a $39 million increase in operating dollars to bolster district finances.
School board members voted 4-1 in June to place the tax measures before voters on Nov. 6. Conservative board member Laura Boggs cast the dissenting vote.
The board’s decision to seek voter approval was expected, after district leaders announced in February a plan to hold off on dramatic budget cuts and allow community members to weigh in on the tax questions.
“Members of the board of education must hear from our community if our community doesn’t want to see the drastic cuts for the 2013-14 school year,” school board President Lesley Dahlkemper said during a Feb. 17 press conference at Lakewood High School.
- Support Jeffco Schools, website for 3A & 3B supporters
- Jeffco Students First, website of group opposing tax measures
- Jeffco website for general district information
Dahlkemper and Superintendent Cindy Stevenson announced the one-year reprieve after a series of board meetings in which hundreds of parents, students, teachers and others protested potential cuts in elementary music teachers, librarians, instructional coaches and guidance counselors.
Jeffco, like other Colorado school districts, has grappled with consecutive years of state funding cuts. Lawmakers stabilized K-12 funding for 2012-13 but it remains at its lowest level in the past five years.
District leaders have closed schools, cut employee pay and shaved days off the school year, among numerous other measures, as part of budget reductions over the past several years.
Under the proposed ballot measures, property taxes would increase $14.68 annually for each $100,000 of a home’s value.
EdNews’ stories on Jeffco’s tax proposals
- District campaigns bust $1 million mark – Nov. 5
- War chests bulk up in district campaigns – Oct. 15
- Campaigns pit board member against board member – Sept. 28
- Colorado school districts seeking $1 billion – Sept. 7
- Campaigns gear up for school tax votes – Aug. 14
- Jeffco goes to voters for more money – June 8
- Jeffco board weighing tax increases – May 4
- Jeffco budget proposal delays painful cuts – Feb. 17
Other media reports
- Our Colorado News: Jeffco voters to decide school funding – Oct. 11
- Denver Post’s Your Hub: Jeffco schools detail possible cuts if ballot measures fail – Oct. 1
- 9News: Jeffco school librarian spends $7,000 to turn RV into billboard supporting district tax proposals – Sept. 7
- Columbine Courier: Jeffco superintendent defends proposed tax increase at community chat – Sept. 4
- Columbine Courier: Principals fear dire consequences if 3A/3B don’t pass – Aug. 21
- Columbine Courier: District says proposed tax increases needed to compensate for declines in state funding – Aug. 14
- Denver Post editorial: Endorsement – yes on school tax measures, including Jeffco – Oct. 26
- Our Colorado News editorial: Support 3A, 3B for Jeffco schools – Oct. 23
- EdNews Voices commentaries: Pro: Why I’ll support Jeffco Schools in November and Con: Jeffco schools don’t need more money – Oct. 18
- Denver Post guest commentaries: Pro:Vote yes on Jeffco’s tax proposals and Con: vote no on Jeffco’s tax proposals – Sept. 16