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.

Jeffco Superintendent Cindy Stevenson responded to reporters' questions at a press conference on the district's budget. <em>EdNews</em> file photo.

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.

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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

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