Chamber backs school district waiver
The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is supporting a mill-levy waiver that would allow School District 51 to offset what the chamber called “monumental cuts in state funding of K-12 education.”
The board voted this morning to support the waiver.
At the same time, the chamber voted to oppose a statewide measure that was certified for the ballot this week. That measure would boost sales and income taxes, including corporate income taxes, and leave in the hands of the Legislature decisions about how the funding would be spent.
Funds from the mill-levy waiver are targeted to be used to restore teaching positions, restore calendar school days, and invest in technology for students.
In backing the district’s waiver, the chamber pointed out that School District 51 is among the lowest funded schools in Colorado, receiving about $6,100 per student year under the School Finance Act funding formula. The state average is $8,400 per pupil.
School District 51, the chamber noted has cut $27 million from the budget in the past three years and is looking at $8 million in more cuts if current state budget forecasts are correct.
The effect of the waiver will be lessened because of a general drop in property taxes expected next year as a result in reduced valuations, the chamber said, noting as well that the school district’s proposal calls for the waiver to expire in six years.