The Funding Proposal

Updated on Mon, 09/17/2018 - 2:31pm
Elevate Funding Proposal

Moving from steps to strides forward

Building on recent success, we collectively - parents, students, staff and community members - set out to develop a plan to take our success to the next level. During the 2017-2018 school year, over 7,000 people from the Five Star community came together to create a new strategic plan that will continue to elevate student success for years to come. 

In its commitment to “move from steps to strides”, the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board of Education prioritized a series of investments aligned to ELEVATE, the community’s new strategic plan for our schools. Read about the journey: English | Spanish 

At its Aug. 22, 2018 meeting, the board identified two funding sources, pending voter-approval, to support these prioritized investments in ELEVATE. It voted to place a local mill levy override (Ballot Issue 5C) on the ballot, and it also passed a resolution in support of Amendment 73, a statewide education funding measure. Both will be on November’s ballot.

Local Mill Levy Override (Ballot Issue 5C)

What is the proposed local Mill Levy Override (Ballot Issue 5C)?

  • Generates $27 million ($689 additional per student, each year) to invest in ongoing expenses and needs such as high-quality teachers and staff, instructional programs and classroom resources
  • Voter-approved property tax increase
  • All funds stay local in Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  • The last override passed in 2008, before the recession and funding cuts from the state

What is the tax impact of the local Mill Levy Override (Ballot Issue 5C)?

  • $6.48/month per $100,000 in home value
  • $24.87/month for the average home value ($383,533) in the Five Star District

Is there an accountability measure built into the local Mill Levy Override (Ballot Issue 5C)?

Yes. The ballot language states that all funds from the mill levy override (Ballot Issue 5C) are “... subject to state laws, regulations and district policies for accountability and transparency.”

How would schools use the additional revenue?

New funds from the local mill levy override (Ballot Issue 5C) would be used to invest in the community’s priorities as outlined in the district’s new strategic plan - ELEVATE. Key investments include:​

  • Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and staff by allowing the district to offer competitive, market-value wages
  • Improving student safety by securing school buildings, entryways and classrooms
  • Expanding vocational, job-training, and career-focused programs
  • Allowing the district to reduce class sizes and manage growth
  • Expanding course offerings in specialized programs like science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as Advanced Placement and other courses
  • Updating textbooks and learning materials that are outdated or don’t meet current academic standards

View a complete list of all proposed investments: English | Spanish

Didn't we pass something in 2016? What is the difference between a bond and a mill levy override?

Bonds = Buildings
Bonds can only be used for capital expenditures, including major repairs, renovations, additions to schools and new schools. Bonds are not included in the district general fund and cannot be used for operating costs such as salaries and benefits. The last bond was passed in 2016. 

 

Overrides = Operations
Overrides are additions to the general fund and used for operating expenses such as salaries and benefits, instructional programs, and classroom technology. School expenses increase yearly, but the last override was passed in 2008, before the Great Recession.

Arguments FOR Mill Levy Override (Ballot Issue 5C) Arguments AGAINST Mill Levy Override (Ballot Issue 5C)

The mill levy override is a sound investment in a prepared workforce, safe and healthy communities and a vibrant economy. Adams 12 Five Star Schools has seen tremendous success over the past several years - the highest graduation rate since 2010, accredited as a Performance District and home to two Colorado Distinguished Principals of the Year.​

The state has defunded education in the Five Star District and rather than put the burden on local communities to fund their schools, the state should pay its fair share.

This investment plan comes from the community. Over 7,000 people participated in developing the district’s new strategic plan and the investments needed to elevate student success to an even higher level. A property tax increase hurts those with a higher-valued home the most since property taxes are based on the value of a home.
This measure will allow the district to address outdated instructional materials that do not support new standards and are lacking online interactive components; reduce class size averages that have grown up to 8 students in some high school subjects; and stay competitive in hiring high-quality teachers by increasing new teacher salaries which are currently in the bottom third compared to districts in the greater Denver area. Colorado’s booming economy has the value of homes going up and that means homeowners are paying more in property taxes. Any further increase in the tax rate means they’ll pay even more.


Additional Resources

Amendment 73

What is Amendment 73?

  • A statewide education funding measure that amends the state constitution
  • Generates $1.6 billion statewide for education
  • Moves Colorado closer to the national average in school funding
  • Requires 55% voter-approval statewide to pass 

How is Amendment 73 paid for?

  • 92% of Coloradans would see no new tax increase
  • Increases the income tax on filers making more than $150,000 annually (income after federal exemptions and deductions)
  • Increases the tax rate on “C” Corporations (not LLCs and S corporations)
  • Reduces property tax rates compared to current levels:
    • 0.2% Reduction in Residential Rate
    • 5% Reduction in Commercial Rate 

What additional revenue would Amendment 73 generate for Adams 12 Five Star Schools?

  • $1,618 additional per student, each year
  • $60 million total for Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  • Funding would go to all public schools, including charters

How would schools in the Five Star District use the additional revenue?

In the Five Star District, new funds would be used to invest in the community’s priorities as outlined in the district’s new strategic plan - ELEVATE. Key investments include:

  • Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and staff by allowing the district to offer competitive, market-value wages
  • Improving student safety by securing school buildings, entryways and classrooms
  • Expanding vocational, job-training, and career-focused programs
  • Allowing the district to reduce class sizes and manage growth
  • Expanding course offerings in specialized programs like science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as Advanced Placement and other courses
  • Updating textbooks and learning materials that are outdated or don’t meet current academic standards
  • Targeted supports for:
    • Gifted and Talented
    • Special Education
    • Emerging Bilinguals
    • At-Risk Students 

View a complete list of all proposed investments: English | Spanish

Arguments FOR Amendment 73 Arguments AGAINST Amendment 73

Investing in public education supports a prepared workforce, safe and healthy communities, a vibrant economy and the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and caretakers. 

Amendment 73 is a $1.6 billion tax increase that may impede economic expansion. Increasing state income taxes for some reduces the money that they have to spend or save.

Colorado’s economy is booming, but our schools continue to experience chronic underfunding. Now is the best time to invest. This measure restores depleted funds cut from the state and brings Colorado closer to the national average in school funding. This measure imposes an additional tax burden on some state taxpayers without a guarantee that the new funding will result in increased academic achievement.
It allows school districts to make local decisions and invest the dollars in the priorities and needs that their local communities have identified for their schools.

A graduated income tax hurts those who make more money because as a person’s income rises, the percentage of their income that they get to take home decreases because the marginal tax rate increases.

Additional Resources

Combined Funding Proposal - How would we invest the dollars? 

On Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, the Adams 12 Five Star Schools Board of Education approved a resolution to place a $27 million mill levy override on the November 2018 ballot. In addition to the local measure, the board passed a resolution in support of Amendment 73, the statewide education funding measure that will raise $60 million for Adams 12 Five Star Schools.

The combined measures will raise $87 million per year for the Five Star District. How will the money be spent? What will be prioritized? 

Based on the year-long community-driven ELEVATE process, Adams 12 Five Star Schools has developed an extensive funding proposal based on three tiers:

  • $27 million from a local mill levy override (Ballot Issue 5C) 
  • $60 million from the state Amendment 73
  • $87 million if both the local mill levy override (Ballot Issue 5C) and Amendment 73 passes

Click below to read the funding plans:

Proposed Investments: English

Proposed Investments: Spanish

More Information

  • Want to learn more about how public schools are funded in Colorado? Check out our Funding 101 page