School board opposes three ballot measures

District 51 school board members voted to adopt a resolution Tuesday opposing three measures on this November’s ballot.

The board declared opposition to Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 “because each of these proposals will significantly interfere with the ability of the state of Colorado and local governments, including school districts, to provide the public services and infrastructure that the citizens expect and deserve,” the resolution read in part.

School board member Diann Rice said the measures, which would lower property taxes, ban government entities from taking on debt, and reduce some fees, would cause businesses to leave the state and cost cities, counties, and school districts “dearly.”

Amendment 61’s restrictions would limit the ability of school districts to issue bonds to pay for new schools, Amendment 60 would cut local property taxes for schools in half and ask the state to pay the difference, and Proposition 101 would reduce tax funding for state and local entities.

School board President Harry Butler said he hope voters take a serious look at what the measures would do to public financing.

“What’s more important, to have a $10 license fee or have children get a good education?” he said, referring to the license plate charge that would be enacted if Proposition 101 passes.

Board Vice President Cindy Enos-Martinez said it’s hard to say just how far the measures could reach. She isn’t sure if the ban on debt would affect the district’s lease with Dell for computers in the schools or make something like the district’s contract with Trane for energy efficiency projects illegal.

The energy efficiency projects that have been done so far through that contract resulted in the school district receiving the largest energy rebate check on Tuesday that Xcel has ever written in Colorado. At $804,000, the check is worth twice the amount of the second-largest check.

The board on Tuesday also approved an online school for high schoolers called Grand River Virtual Academy. Ron Roybal, the district’s director of academic options, said he’s already seen interest from about 40 potential students for the school.

“These would be students that wouldn’t be in school otherwise,” Roybal said.

The board also directed staff to watch interest rates and determine whether it would be wise to refinance the district’s bonds from the 2004 bond issue. Refinancing for a lower interest rate would decrease property taxes that were increased to pay off the $109 million bond issue.


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