Five Pikes Peak region school districts have financing questions on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. Here’s a breakdown.
4A and 4B
What: Lewis-Palmer School District 38 in Monument is seeking a $1 million mill levy override, or property tax increase, and a $36.5 million bond authorization.
Why: In five years, D-38 is expected to add 945 students, and existing schools are at or near capacity.
Details: The $1 million MLO would provide more safety and security staff and training at all D-38 schools, including its charter school, Monument Academy. The measure would sunset in seven years.
The $36.5 million bond would build an elementary school, convert Bear Creek Elementary back to a middle school, and provide safety and security improvements at all D-38 schools.
Costs: The MLO and the bond would cost homeowners about $14 per month for the average home valued at $400,000. Business owners would see an increase of about $56 per month for both proposals.
What: School District 49 in eastern El Paso County wants to reduce its mill levy by switching from a fixed dollar amount of $7.5 million annually to a fixed cap of 18.500 mills.
Why: This would enable the district to continue to increase funding through new home construction.
Details: The proposal would not increase property taxes; it would lead to a decrease.
What: Ellicott School District 22 in eastern El Paso County seeks a $4.37 million bond issue.
Why: Voter approval would enable D-22 to provide required matching funds for a $3.28 million Building Excellent Schools Today, or BEST state grant to address safety, expand schools and update buildings with science labs and exploratory space.
Details: Money would build secure entrances at the elementary and high schools; improve accessibility and other compliance issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act; modernize, update and renovate school buildings, including expand the elementary school cafeteria and build more classrooms at the high school; resurface the tract and construct an auxiliary practice gym for student and community use.
Costs: $26 a year for every $100,000 of home valuation for homeowners
What: Harrison D-2 seeks a $180 million bond measure to improve schools.
Why: It’s the first time in 18 years D-2 has sought bond funding from local voters, as decreases in state education funding has shortchanged D-2 by $90 million over the past decade.
Details: Money would renovate existing schools, construct a building for Carmel Middle School, convert Soaring Eagles and Sand Creek International elementary schools into K-8 campuses, and improve security, safety, technology and ADA compliance at all schools.
Costs: The proposal would raise property taxes by not more than $16.2 million annually, which would cost a homeowner an estimated $8 per month per $100,000 of assessed value. For the average homeowner in D-2, that amounts to about $15 monthly.
What: Manitou Springs School District 14 in Manitou Springs is asking voters to allow it to keep an additional $1 million raised from its previously approved mill levy override.
Why: Voters approved a mill levy override in 2015, but the measure had a 52 mill cap. Approval of this ballot issue would remove the restriction so the D-14 board of education can establish the mill levy rate needed to collect the revenues that were approved three years ago.
Details: If the measure passes, D-14 will use the extra revenue to support teachers (recruitment and retention, including some “catch up” for those who have been hurt by the 2008 recession), and new mental health initiatives for students, including the new “Connect 14,” which provides after-school programming and potentially health services.
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.