Good management justifies renewing schools’ mill levy
In November 2001, Summit County voters approved a special mill levy that raised about $27 million dollars from 2001 to 2004. Since Colorado schools are limited in the options and flexibility allowed by statewide constitutional mandates regarding how much property taxes can be collected for schools, this special three-year financing tool is critical in maintaining the quality of education we have in Summit schools. This mill levy expires December 2004 and is subject to renewal every three years.In November 2004, the district will be asking voters to continue to authorize the district to raise these additional revenues at a reduced rate to taxpayers to fund special building projects, maintenance costs and technology improvements.Without this funding, these expenditures will have to be paid from the general fund, thereby reducing the amount of dollars available for instructional programs and teacher salaries.Summit School District is pleased to announce that the promises made to the voters in 2001 have been kept. Construction, maintenance and technology projects are being funded and completed according to the plan approved in December 2001. This additional funding has allowed the district to keep class sizes low, offer our teachers competitive salaries, invest $6.2 million in our preventative maintenance program, invest $2.7 million into our instructional technology program and conduct major facility improvement projects including a new facilities building (estimated expense: $813,063); $2,073,990 worth of renovations at Breckenridge Elementary; $2,750,475 worth of renovations at Dillon Valley Elementary; and a new Silverthorne Elementary school building that will open this fall (estimated expense: $12,734,587) within budget and right on schedule.The new Silverthorne Elementary school building was commended in April by the state for its energy-efficient design.Rebuild Colorado, a department of the Governor’s Office of Energy, chose the new 62,500-square-foot building as one of six successful examples throughout the state of high-performance school design.The new building will have the capacity to serve 450 students. Members of the public are welcome to tour our newest addition to Summit schools following a ribbon-cutting ceremony that has been scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3. A public tour will also be held before the Board of Education meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8. Members of the Board of Education, other school district representatives, and I are spending the next few months visiting organizations throughout Summit County to discuss the next phase of our facilities funding plan. If your group or organization would like to learn more about the ballot measures the school district is proposing for the November 2004 election, call us at (970) 668-3011.Dr. Millie Hamner is the superintendent of schools. In her next commentary, she plans to discuss the need for major renovations at Summit Middle School. She can be reached at (970) 668-3011.
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