The Reactions From Colorado School Districts: Election Winners And Losers
School districts along Colorado’s Front Range told voters they needed money for a long list of improvements -- everything from tightening security to building new classrooms. The results were mixed, with some districts getting what they asked for and others forced to dig deeper into their budgets, doing more with less.
Here’s a breakdown of the results:
- Greeley-Evans District 6 lost their bid to pass a $12 million mill levy override for funding several initiatives - security upgrades, classroom tech, pay raises and personnel. “This decision by our voters means we will not have the additional resources to do all that we must for our students and staff,” wrote superintendent Diedre Pilch in a letter to the district Wednesday. “We will take a deeper look at our budget, and continue to effectively and efficiently use the resources we have and still work toward fulfilling our mission. This will mean doing some things differently, and doing less.”
- Weld RE-4 won bids for a mill levy override and a bond sale projected to raise $108.4 million for the district. It’s the first time the district turned to voters for funding in ten years. The lion’s share of the funding will go towards building a new high school, and the rest will go towards renovations and modernization. In a note to the district on Wednesday, superintendent Dan Seegmiller said the board will meet next week to start planning a timeline for improvements.
- Poudre School District $8 million mill levy override passed, along with the $375 million bond sale by a narrow margin. The $375 million is planned for new school construction, additions and renovations. The $8 million mill levy override will pay for the operating costs of those new schools. Days before the election, the Coloradoan published an investigation that found the district exaggerated some of their need for the cash. PSD has released a statement outlining a tentative timeline for new construction.
- Thompson School District saw voters reject a mill levy override and bond sale that would have brought in nearly $300 million intended for new construction — a new k-8 school, renovations to aging buildings and expansions — and pay raises.Thompson has yet to release a statement outlining next steps.
- Denver Public Schools passed both a mill levy override and bond sale which will bring in a combined $628 million. The cash will pay for maintenance, primarily at schools built before 1969. Seventy-nine schools throughout the district will have central air installed. New schools and additions to existing schools are also in the budget, along with classroom tech upgrades and more mental health personnel.
- Aurora Public Schools won its appeal for a $300 million bond sale. Like other districts, Aurora plans to invest much of the money in modernizing aging buildings, and in building additions to accommodate rising enrollment. Superintendent Rico Munn told members of the district that improvements could start as soon as this year.
- Mapleton had mixed success. The district’s $3 million mill levy override passed, but a $150 million bond sale failed. The mill levy will pay for maintenance, personnel, new classroom materials and a high school career tech program. The bond sale would have paid for improvements to aging buildings - many older than 60 years - and for new, bigger schools. No word yet on how Mapleton plans to move forward.
- Adams 12 Five Star won approval from voters for a $350 million bond sale. Most of the money is slated for repairing 23 school buildings identified as being in “poor” or “critical” condition. The district’s long-range planning committee will meet next week to talk out a plan for the cash.
- Jefferson County Public Schools asked voters for quite a pretty penny, and both requests - a $535 million bond sale and a $33 million mill levy override - were soundly rejected. Funds would have been invested almost entirely in capital improvements. Superintendent Dan McMinimee told members of the district Wednesday that cutbacks, boundary changes and other cost saving measures are on the table moving forward. School closures and consolidations will be considered by the JeffCo board next week. This is the second attempt to ask voters for more money; the last one was in 2008, in the midst of the recession.