Education ballot proponents say they can work together
Proponents of two education-related measures on the Nov. 1 ballot are showing support for each other amid concerns the presence of both measures may cause voter confusion.
School District 51’s mill levy override, Referred Measure 3B, would increase local property taxes for local schools. Statewide measure Proposition 103 would increase income and sales taxes to pay for Colorado preschool through 12th-grade and higher-education institutions.
District 51 School Board member Diann Rice said she and others in the school district met this summer with the author of the proposition, state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, to discuss how the override and Proposition 103 may interact.
“There was concern there would be confusion,” Rice said. “That with both on the ballot, people would say, ‘Isn’t this a little much? Do they want to get us from every side?”
Personally, Rice said, she hopes voters approve both measures.
“(Proposition 103) might alleviate cuts next year. Instead of $8 million in cuts next year, we might get to stay flat as far as state funding. But being flat at state funding doesn’t make up for any cuts before,” Rice said.
Proposition 103 and the mill levy override are “as complementary as it can get,” Heath said.
His proposal would give an additional $532 per student to District 51 schools under current funding formulas, which would mean $6,669 per student in 2012–13, he said. That figure is $44 below funding per District 51 student in 2009–10, the year $28.64 million in budget cuts began.
“I’m sure (District 51) is doing this to make up for cuts that are existent today,” Heath said. “What we’re trying to do is prevent any more state cuts.”
Heath said the two measures would work best together. He had nothing negative to say about the local override measure during a Friday editorial board meeting with The Daily Sentinel.
Rice agreed but said the proposition may have a better chance of passing than the override because it has the advantage of Front Range voters, who tend historically to be more receptive to tax increases than voters from other parts of the state.
Rice said if the override has an advantage, it may be that the money raised through the override would remain in District 51.
Proposition 103 would spread money among school districts and colleges and universities at the Legislature’s discretion.