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$325,000 for district tax elections

Updated 4 p.m. Oct. 29 – Contributions in district tax proposal campaigns have exceeded $325,000, according to campaign finance reports filed by a Friday deadline.

A bit less than a third of that total is accounted for by the Douglas County Citizens for Education Reform, which is backing Issue 3A, a $20 million tax increase for operating expenses, and 3B, a $200 million bond issue. The committee has raised $83,470 and carried over $20,921 from a prior campaign.

The largest recent individual contribution is $5,000 from ICS, a Wyoming-based technology company. (See this article for information on other Dougco contributions.)

The committee has spent $79,156, including $35,530 in the most recent reporting period, which covers activity from Oct. 7 to Oct. 23. The bulk of the recent spending, $32,285, was with Wizbang Solutions, a Commerce City direct mail company.

Spending by committees in other districts is similarly focused on printing and direct mail.

After Douglas County, the next largest amount of money has been raised in Mesa County, where District 51 is asking voters to approve a $12.8 million override, a six-year increase in property taxes to compensate for the effects of recent budget cuts.

The Friends of District 51 has raised $48,975 and spent $43,886. The committee has had substantial support from corporate donors and the local affiliate of the Colorado Education Association. A large recent contributor was George K. Baum Co., the Denver bond firm, which gave $5,000. Baum is one of the small number of firms that work with Colorado school districts on bond issues and financing.

Other top districts

Here are snapshots of fundraising in other districts where committees have raised at least $10,000:

Roaring Fork ($4.2 million override) – A group named Children First has raised $29,432 and spent $15,059. The Roaring Fork Public Education Foundation donated $3,925 during the most recent reporting period.

Cheyenne Mountain ($1.7 million override) – Friends of Cheyenne Mountain Schools has raised $26,625 and spent $22,529.

Englewood ($50 million bond, $1.5 million override) – Citizens for Englewood Schools has raised $21,666 and spent $19,700. The most recent reporting period included a $1,000 contribution from JVA Inc., a Boulder engineering firm. (Like bond houses and teachers unions, architects, engineers and construction companies are frequent contributors in district tax elections.)

Eagle County ($6 million override) – Citizens for Eagle County Schools has raised $19,550, $17,550 in the latest reporting period. Spending totals $19,352, most of that also in the latest period. Major recent contributors include East End Partners of Avon $5,000; G.E. Johnson Construction of Grand Junction, $2,500, and Vail Resorts, $5,000.

Brighton ($4.8 million override) – Parents for 27J Students has raised $13,807 and spent $11,098.

Thompson ($12.8 million override) – Community Coalition for Local schools has raised $10,807 and spent $5,648. In the latest reporting period Loveland Surgical Associates gave $1,000.

Alamosa ($6 million bond) – Alamosans for Great Schools has raised $10,641 and spent $10,150.

Garfield RE-2 ($4.8 million override) – Friends of Garfield RE-2 has raised $10,632 and spent $2,864.

The Falcon district is proposing an $85 million bond and a $5 million override. Two committees, Investment in Our Kids and Commitment for Kids, are registered as active with the Department of State, but neither has filed any reports this year.

Building D70 Communities, a committee that’s supporting the Pueblo County proposals for a $35 million bond and a $3.4 million override, reported fundraising of $7,900 and spending of $7,714.

Education News Colorado reviewed Oct. 28 filings by 26 committees in 24 districts. The total raised was $325,722. More than $570 million worth of bond issues and overrides is being sought by 35 Colorado school districts this year. Four districts, Douglas County, Englewood, Falcon and Pueblo County, are seeking both.

This story was updated to include reports that weren’t available on Oct. 28.