Lewis-Palmer D-38 voters overwhelmingly reject tax increase

November 5, 2013 Updated: November 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Voters in Monument overwhelmingly turned down a $4.5 million tax increase that was aimed at helping Lewis-Palmer School District 38 get back to where it was before state education budget cuts.

More than 75 percent of the voters said no to the measure. Amendment 66, the statewide school funding measure was losing by the same margin in El Paso County.

D-38 was the only district in El Paso County asking for a mill levy increase.

"It was our concern that people who not understand the differnce between the two education measures. Amendment 66 was so overwhelming and they were scared of that. So they went right down the line voting anti-tax," said board member Mark Pfoff.

He said that the numerous teacher cuts made in past years will not be restored.

"Obviously we are disappointed our community members felt they could not support our efforts to restore some of the funding lost in recent years. I'm concerned for our struggling kids who need additonal support.

"We respect their decision and will continue to provide our children with the best education possible with the funds available."

D-38 officials were concerned about a downtick in student achievement, particularly in some lower grades that may be caused by larger class sizes, board members said. The district's $35 million general fund budget is $5.7 million a year below where it would have been if the state hadn't made educational cuts. As a result, D-38 had to slash its budget, including eliminating 22 teaching positions.

The mill levy would have cost the well-to do area about $100 a year per $100,000 of property valuation.

The tax increase would have provided: $1.3 million to restore 22 classroom teachers and instructional budgets; $1 million to attract and retain the best teachers; $900,000 to restore counselors and specialists for struggling and gifted students, technology teachers and summer school teachers; $720,000 to Monument Academy; $450,000 for updated technology, and $130,000 to enhance safety.

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