Superintendent explains how mill levy would be used |

Superintendent explains how mill levy would be used

As I mentioned in a previous guest commentary, school districts in Colorado are funded through a complex system of rules and regulations outlined in the 1994 School Finance Act. These procedures govern the equitable funding for public education for all children throughout Colorado. However, Colorado does not rank well in funding public education as evidenced by the fact that our state is in the bottom fourth of all states in the average amount spent per pupil for public education.The Finance Act has been amended allowing school districts to augment their funds through special elections to pay for costly projects that would normally have to be financed through already strained budgets. One such option for school districts is the Special Building and Technology Fund.

Voters approved the Summit School District’s request for 7.62 mills for this Special Building and Technology Fund levy in November of 2001. This funding, which ends in December of this year, allowed the district to address facility maintenance and preventative maintenance and technology projects, build the new Silverthorne Elementary School, renovate Dillon Valley and Breckenridge elementary schools, and add a maintenance facility. Because of the $27 million raised through the mill levy, none of these expenditures had to be made at the expense of class size, teacher salaries, and educational programs.On the November ballot, the Summit School District is asking voters to renew this mill levy. Being sensitive to the economic climate in Summit County, we have cut in half the amount of mills from the current level of 7.62 to a lower mill levy of 3.37.

As a result, residential and commercial taxpayers would see a reduction in their tax bill. The proposed mill levy would generate about $12 million over the three-year period and then sunset in December 2007.These funds would be used in this way: About $2.6 million a year would be used for ongoing repair and maintenance upkeep in order to preserve and enhance the value of our properties, roof replacement, asphalt repair, and finally, improvements in lighting and safety in an effort to provide an improved learning environment. Another $1.4 million a year would be used for technology projects including funding the expanded Career and Technology Education programs at Summit High School.

In conclusion, funding special building and technology projects through this mill levy will allow the district to keep up with facility maintenance and technology upgrades while maintaining class size, competitive staff salaries and educational programs. Most importantly, it will help us to concentrate our funding where it matters most, on children and learning.Dr. Millie Hamner issuperintendent of schools. She will give details about the bond referendum in a future commentary. She can be reached at (970) 668-3011 or

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