27J puts mill levy override on the ballot

By Steve Smith
Posted 8/23/11

It's official.

Voters in Brighton School District 27J will be asked to approve a mill levy override at the polls Nov. 1.


The proposal will ask taxpayers for …

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27J puts mill levy override on the ballot


It's official.

Voters in Brighton School District 27J will be asked to approve a mill levy override at the polls Nov. 1.


The proposal will ask taxpayers for an extra 6.3 mills which, if approved, would generate $4.8 million annually. On a house with a market value of $200,000, property tax would increase by just less than $100 a year.

Emotions were running high at Tuesday night's board of education meetinag. With the mill levy question on the line, board president Joan Kniss turned the mike over to the public for their comments. They had many.

Leah Rae Brown said, "Guilt works for everybody," as she brought up South Elementary School third-grader Olivia Kohler.

Brown asked the board if they knew who they would be saying "no" to if they voted against the resolution to place a mill levy override question on the ballot.

After listening to 15 people, including two Commerce City council members, several parents, teachers and residents who were in support of a mill levy override, board member Russ Carr made a motion and the rest unanimously followed suit to pass the resolution to put question back to the 27J taxpayers.

Superintendent Rod Blunck has not been shy about voicing his intent to take the question of a mill levy to the board. He recommended to the board that it put the override question on the ballot.

“I believe that, to maintain what we’re doing and the growth that we’re hitting and the achievement we’re hitting, we can’t do it on a reduced dollar,” Blunck said Aug. 16. “These are our kids, and it would be a crime if we would shirk our responsibility and think that somebody else should take care of it. If the superintendent of schools can’t stand up and be the voice, I don’t think we can expect anybody to.”

          According to Terry Lucero, chief operations officer, people will receive their ballots in the mail between Oct. 11 and 14. He’s hoping one year between requests makes the difference.

           Lucero said the time should have given the public a chance for conversations about the status of school funding.

“The district is hopeful that our tax payers realize that these dollars are needed for us to continue the quality of education that we’ve provided over a period of years,” Lucero said Aug. 16.

           In 2010, the school district tried for a mill levy override, and it was shot down by a margin of 56 percent to 43 percent. The district asked taxpayers for 4 mills, which would have increased residential property taxes annually by $32 per $100,000 of home value. An owner of a $250,000 home would have paid an additional $79.60 per year in property taxes. The override would have generated approximately $3.2 million, beginning in the 2011 fiscal year, and would have adjusted on an annual basis.

           If a mill levy is passed in November, it would be added on to the existing override that was passed in 2000. According to Blunck, even if this happened, 27J would still be the lowest-funded district in the metropolitan area.

           The former mill levy is capped at $750,000, which comes to around $55 per student in the 27J School District.

           “Boulder has the same type of override. But theirs is $52 million every year,” said Blunck. “And we can put our student achievement rate and gradation rate right up against theirs.”

           If the levy is passed in November, Blunck said the district would have additional resources to go back and look at issues such as class size, school supplies and this year’s new transportation fee and potentially take those off the backs of taxpayers.

           The voter registration deadline is Oct. 3. To register, visit www.co.adams.co.us or www.co.weld.co.us.


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