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Five Pikes Peak region school districts asking voters to invest in education

November 4, 2017 Updated: November 6, 2017 at 8:24 am
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Five Pikes Peak region school districts have financing measures on Tuesday's ballot. Here's a recap of the proposals.

Cheyenne Mountain School District 12

Active registered voters: 15,780

Ballots cast to date: 4,368

Issue 3D: The question is short, but the explanation is lengthy. District officials want to keep property tax revenues voters approved in 2011.

An unexpected legislative change reduced the rate at which homes are assessed for calculating property taxes. The lower rate, combined with D-12's current 53-mill levy, has produced lower property values and a property tax shortfall, according to officials.

If voters approve Issue 3D, the board will set the 2018 tax rate at 55 mills, allowing D-12 to avoid loss of local funding. It also would cut homeowners' property taxes by $26 a year per $100,000 of home value.

If the issue fails, the property tax reduction will increase by $14 annually, and D-12 projects it will lose $768,000 this year and similar amounts in subsequent years.

Colorado Springs School District 11

Active registered voters: 141,218

Ballots cast to date: 27,035

Issue 3E: The region's oldest and largest school district is asking for approval of a $42 million annual property tax increase that would help offset $237.6 million in state funding cuts to D-11 since the Great Recession. Revenue would repair school buildings, increase pay for employees, add counselors, nurses, social workers and school resource officers, reduce class sizes, add more school resource officers, improve technology and, under a new state law, give charter schools a fair share of the money.

An oversight committee would ensure the money pays for a dedicated list of improvements.

The proposal would cost homeowners about $3.75 a month per $100,000 of property value.

D-11 voters last approved a property tax increase in November 2000.

The list of needs was developed out of a "Vision 2030" study launched in 2014

Promoters said it's been 17 years since D-11 voters passed a mill levy override measure.

Hanover School District 28

Active registered voters: 1,027

Ballots cast to date: 201

Issue 3F: D-28 is seeking an 8.3 mill levy override, which would cost the average property owner in the school district about $5 a month.

Issue 3F would generate $285,000 annually, which the district would use to refresh transportation fleets, expand course offerings, provide a 1:1 technology initiative and fix deferred maintenance, such as the HVAC systems and roofing.

Peyton School District 23-JT

Active registered voters: 2,832

Ballots cast to date: 613

Issue 3G: For the first time in its history, Peyton 23-JT will ask voters for a mill levy override that would generate $126,000 to $180,000 annually. The money would pay for increased salaries across the board and renovating, remodeling and maintaining facilities.

Issue 3G would not cost taxpayers more than the current assessment; a bond issue to build a high school in 2005 is scheduled to sunset, so the override would reduce the mill levy.

The money also would help offset the $6 million the district has lost in state funding cuts in recent years.

Another ballot proposal would extend board members' term limits from two to three terms.

Widefield School District 3

Active registered voters: 28,244

Ballots cast to date: 4,593

Issues 3A and 3B: A five-year, long-range study led to these proposals to address building and classroom needs. The first measure seeks a $3.5 million annual property tax increase to fund district operations, including offsetting a portion of state funding cuts to enhance core subjects and sustain innovative academic programs, reduce class sizes, increase staff salaries, expand technology and cover operating costs of a new preschool through eighth grade building.

The second initiative is a $49.5 million bond authorization that would increase taxes up to $3.6 million annually and be used to build a new elementary and middle school in the eastern section of D-3, make district-wide improvements to its 15 existing schools, upgrade computer and internet technology at all schools, improve safety with surveillance cameras, reduce portable classrooms, renovate high school auditoriums, upgrade buses, refinance leases and replace electrical systems.

The proposals are estimated to cost homeowners additional taxes of about $9.25 monthly per $100,000 of property value.

Promoters said it's been 16 years since D-3 asked voters for a property tax increase and 22 years for a bond measure.

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