Education ballot proponents say they can work together

QUICKREAD

The District 51 mill levy override, a local ballot measure, and Proposition 103, a statewide ballot measure, will go before voters Nov. 1. Here are summaries of what each would do:

What would the measures do?

District 51 override: Increase the number of mills in the local property tax formula by seven for six years.

Proposition 103: Increase state income tax from 4.63 percent to 5 percent and increase state sales tax from 2.9 percent to 3 percent for five years.

How much money would they raise?

District 51 override: $12.5 million in 2012. The tally in the following five years will depend on changes in the number and values of local properties.

Proposition 103: $536.1 million in 2012, according to the ballot language. Changes in consumer spending and income may change the amount in following years, but a Blue Book ballot analysis estimates the measure will raise more than $2.9 billion in five years.

What would they fund?

District 51 override: Restore up to 80 teaching positions, four school days and one district-employee-contract day; technology purchases; and cover state cuts.

Proposition 103: Preschool through 12th-grade education and higher education statewide.

What do taxpayers pay now?

District 51 override: For every $100,000 of a home’s assessed value in District 51 boundaries, $267.05 in property tax goes to education. For businesses, that amount is $972.92 for each $100,000 of the property’s worth.

Proposition 103: Coloradans pay $46.30 in state income tax on every $1,000 of taxable income. A single person making $35,000 a year, for example, pays $1,268 in state income tax, according to a Blue Book analysis. A person who makes a $100 purchase in Grand Junction pays $7.65 in sales tax, with $2.90 going to the state.

How much would taxpayers pay if the measure passes?

District 51 override: $322.77 for homeowners and $1,175.92 for business owners for every $100,000 of a property’s value.

Proposition 103: People would pay $50 in state income tax on every $1,000 of taxable income in Colorado. Blue Book estimates a single person making $35,000 a year would pay $1,369 in state income tax. A person would pay $7.75 in sales tax on a $100 purchase in Grand Junction, with $3 going to the state.

COMPARING MEASURES



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.


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