Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Bruce Warren
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Vote "Yes" on school ballot issues

 

October 23, 2016



It’s a sad fact that Colorado is hamstrung by complicated provisions of the state constitution that prevent the state legislature from adequately funding public education, but fixing that problem is not on the ballot. As a result, local school districts are forced to turn to voters time and again to ask for bond issue approvals and mill levy overrides to keep pace with the demands of increasing populations and escalating costs.

The St. Vrain Valley School District has proposed a bond issue (3A on the ballot) which would generate $260 million for new classroom space (68%) and repairs, renovations and security upgrades (32%). The cost to homeowners would be approximately $1.82 per month for each $100,000 of value of a home. Thus a homeowner in Niwot with a home valued at $500,000 would pay $9.10 per month, or $109.20 per year in additional taxes.

Commercial property owners would pay much more, but business groups give overwhelming support to these ballot issues. Why? Because they recognize the need, and the value, in maintaining adequate funding for public education.

The St. Vrain Valley School District, under the leadership of former Niwot High School Principal Don Haddad, has been a model of fiscal responsibility while constantly improving an already impressive record of academic achievement. Ask any realtor about the most important factors home buyers mention in selecting a new home, and you will hear schools at the top of the list. They also realize that good schools increase property values.

The benefit of funding public education is obvious to parents who have children in schools, but what about others such as retirees? One need only consider who is going to be taking care of us in our old age to understand that dollars spent on public education are essential to our own well-being.

The Boulder Valley School District has put an operational mill levy override (3A on the ballot) seeking $10 million from voters to pay for operational services, including construction, maintenance and technology. The district reports that both maintenance and custodial services have been underfunded, and that additional funds could support new services.

The ballot question is proposed under a new category of mill levy override authorized by the state legislature last year, and can only be used for certain expenses. The cost to homeowners would be approximately $1.13 per month for each $100,000 of home value. Thus a homeowner in Gunbarrel with a $500,000 home would pay $5.67 per month, or $68.00 per year in additional property taxes.

The Boulder Valley School District has been responsible in maintaining top-notch schools, seeking additional funding when appropriate. This request is another step in maintaining that record.

The Courier urges a “Yes” vote on both 3A ballot issues.

 

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