Summit School District supports Proposition 103 |

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Summit School District supports Proposition 103

After deciding not to back a standard resolution supporting Proposition 103 – a ballot initiative that would increase sales and income tax to help fund public education – Summit School District Board of Education members opted instead to issue their own statement.

Boardmembers stated that they support the statewide initiative as it applies toward public education throughout the state of Colorado.

“People should vote for it. It’s something we need as a state,” boardmember Brad Piehl said.

Many felt the form resolution provided by the Colorado Association of School Boards didn’t represent their feelings – that it had too much focus on a suffering district, which they say Summit County is not, thanks to mill levies approved by local voters.

“We’ve been communicating we have money, and have been doing a good job with the students,” Piehl said. Nonetheless, he and others feel voters should support the initiative as a way to promote education across the state.

“Our complicated tax system has reduced our ability to fund education at the level it should be funded at,” board vice president Sheila Groneman said. “The tax rate jumps aren’t that great… It seems reasonable, rational.”

Summit School District assistant superintendent Karen Strakbein said current state budget cuts in education hover around $200 million to $300 million. Last year, $227 million, or roughly 5 percent, was reduced statewide. That type of reduction would mean about $1.8 million to $2 million less for Summit School District in 2012-13.

If Proposition 103 passes, it would bring in about $500 million next year, which would recover this year’s losses and help prevent cuts next year, Strakbein said.

The initiative would sunset in five years, after collecting an estimated $2.9 billion dedicated for Colorado public education.

– Janice Kurbjun