Below are answers to frequently asked questions related to the Bond and Mill Levy.
Q: What are the preliminary plans for rebuilding the schools?
contains detailed information about the reason upgrades are needed and the preliminary plans for the new builds.
Q: What led the Board of Education to decide it was time to rebuild Englewood Elementary Schools?
In 2011, Englewood voters approved a bond to renovate or rebuild Englewood’s middle and high schools. Knowing that the elementary schools were also aging and in need of repairs, the Board of Education promised the community that it would also revisit the elementary schools within 5 years.
In order to make sure that it was following the will of the community, the district convened a group of citizens, parents, teachers, and district staff called the Facilities Long-Range Planning Committee to study the state of our facilities and explore all possible options to ensure they were meeting the needs of our students and community. At the same time, a series of town hall meetings were conducted at each school in order to engage in dialog with school communities about the challenges and celebrations each of our schools were facing.
After touring schools, hearing from experts, studying demographics, and conducting a community survey, the Facilities Long-Range Planning Committee recommended
that the Board of Education explore the cost and feasibility of renovating or rebuilding all four elementary school buildings and preschool facility, and pursue a bond election in order to fund the projects.
After consulting with expert architects around costs and feasibility, it was found to be more cost-effective and more long-lasting to rebuild the buildings entirely rather than attempt to simply repair or renovate existing structures.
Q: Why do we need new schools instead of just making repairs or renovations?
Q: What is a Bond Election?
Our elementary school buildings were built over 60 years ago, when standards for learning and safety were different. Though we work hard to create clean and safe learning environments for our students, there are some challenges with the buildings that we cannot overcome. Old HVAC systems, out-of-date ADA accessibility, fire safety systems that are not up to current code, and other issues would be costly to update piecemeal. Building new schools is more cost-effective than remodeling and updating the older buildings as it will save on maintenance costs and ensure the buildings are safe and clean learning environments for students for the next 50 plus years.
A Bond Election is to approve the District’s issuance of general obligation bonds to fund capital needs.
Capital needs are generally defined as assets that have a useful life over one year. Type of expenditures include: building new schools; equipping and furnishing new schools; repair, renovate, improve, enlarge existing facilities including updating heating and ventilation systems, roofs, wiring and plumbing; other major costs including larger technology purchases, safety and security systems and innovation projects.
This requires approval by District voters and is funded through personal and business property taxes.
In this case, the District is asking for $97.5 million dollars to rebuild Bishop Elementary, Charles Hay World School, Cherrelyn Elementary, Clayton Elementary and the Early Childhood Education Center at Maddox.
Q: What is a Mill Levy?
A mill levy is based on assessed property tax and is used by local governments or school districts in order to cover annual expenses. In this case, the mill levy would be for $1.5 million and would augment safety and security, attract and retain highly qualified teachers, support staff and leaders, maintain current instructional technology resources, and maintain district facilities and grounds.
Q: What will the tax impact be of a bond and mill levy?
The total tax impact of both the bond and mill levy will be $6.67 per month per $100,000 of a home’s assessed valuation.
The mill levy is $2.08 per month per $100,000 and the bond is $4.58 for the same.
Businesses pay a higher rate.
Q: Why is the District asking tax payers to fund new schools?
The Colorado funding model for schools has shifted to rely more and more on local taxpayers to support their school districts, instead of relying on state funding.
In 1980, Colorado’s funding per student was $480 above the national average. By 2012, it was $2,900 below the national average.
Several Legislative acts have led to decreasing State funding over the years:
Q: What happened to the marijuana money?
- Enacted in 1992, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) sets limits on amount of revenue that can be collected by the State and local governments at growth plus inflation. If revenue is higher, law requires refunds to taxpayers. The law also imposes a limit on property taxes and requires a vote to increase taxes. This law has limited the amount of money that can go to education, even in a booming economy.
- Amendment 23
- Enacted in 2000, Amendment 23 requires the state to increase yearly funding for education by establishing a minimum increase in the amount of per-pupil funding given to districts by at least the rate of inflation. Also created the State Education Fund with the goal of catching K-12 funding up to where we were in the ‘80s.
- Negative Factor
- Since the State has struggled to keep up with the education funding formula and promises made in Amendment 23, legislators decided that only certain parts of the School Finance Act needed to grow by inflation. This allowed legislators to balance the state budget by adding a “negative” factor to the other factors built into the School Finance Act. This subtracted money intended for education and reduced revenue for all Colorado districts. Each year the size of the negative factor changes depending on the state budget but average is 13% for districts and between $850-920 million each year for all Colorado districts. In the years since its inception in 2009, Englewood Schools has lost $21 million dollars.
Colorado has designated $40 million for school construction from tax revenue collected by recreational marijuana sales.
This $40 million is for construction projects that are going on all over the state in the form of BEST grants. BEST grants are a competitive grant given to school districts. All 178 school districts in Colorado must apply for funding, with awards typically going to lower funded or rural districts. Priorities for the grants are usually safety based, and in order to qualify, districts must have matching funds in hand to complete any building or project.
Around the state, the need for school construction is about $38 billion.