Elizabeth school mill levy override will appear on ballot

$1.59 million would go to district by replacing expiring tax

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 8/30/18

In an effort to attract and retain teachers, expand safety and security measures in schools, and provide students with access to technology that facilitates learning, the board of Elizabeth Schools …

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Elizabeth school mill levy override will appear on ballot

$1.59 million would go to district by replacing expiring tax

Posted

In an effort to attract and retain teachers, expand safety and security measures in schools, and provide students with access to technology that facilitates learning, the board of Elizabeth Schools unanimously voted on Aug. 27 to place a $1.59 million mill levy override question on the November ballot.

“This has never been done before,” said Douglas Bissonette, superintendent of Elizabeth school district. “I absolutely do think it will work and will make a huge difference.”

The override would not raise taxes for those within the school district, but would replace the expiring tax for bonded debt with general fund revenue.

“What we're asking voters to do is allow us to continue collecting the same amount on their taxes already being paid, which is being collected on a bond that was issued in 2000 to build the high school,” said Bissonette. “The school will be paid off in 2019, and instead of building a school we would like to use the money to address some top issues in our schools.”

Attracting and retaining teachers and support staff is on the top of the list of priorities to improve the school district, by offering competative pay comparative to surrounding school districts.

Safety and social-emotional support for students is second on the list, including the addition of a school resource officer and expanding safety, security and preparedness programs within schools.

Additional access to technology is the third priority cited by the school district.

“It's probably not news that low school funding in our state is a problematic and ongoing challenge,” said school board Vice President Dee Lindsey in a press release announcing the override question. “What many people in our community probably don't realize is just how low our funding is here in Elizabeth. Of the school districts in Colorado with more than 1,000 students, Elizabeth schools is the 10th lowest funded.”

The Elizabeth school district includes six schools, with a student population of more than 2,400 students.

Bissonette said the town has held numerous meetings over the years with community members to address the school board's priorities for students, including future growth issues and growing needs of students. With several large developments being approved in and around Elizabeth recently, the district will eventually have to build more schools, but for now, would like to use the money to improve services to students.

“I'm optimistic,” said Bissonette.

“A mill levy override allows a school district to request property tax revenue for day-to-day operational expenses, beyond what is provided by the Colorado Public School Finance Act,” explained the press release issued by the school board.

“The bottom line is our community deserves the business environment, property values and bright future that a successful, high-quality school system brings with it,” said Lindsey. “And most of all, the children in our community — our children and grandchildren — deserve the same education and opportunities as a student anywhere else in Colorado, or the country.”

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