Ballot Question 3B is a property tax mill levy override allowing Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 to increase teacher salaries.
Currently we are 13 percent below regional average, and 27 percent below state average for teacher salaries. 3B will allow us to become more competitive in recruiting and retaining quality teachers.
3B will also allow us to replace our aging busses at a rate of 3 per year. New busses will be more efficient and built to higher safety standards, with seat belts and brake interlock systems for safe transportation of our children.
The measure will also provide needed upgrades to our IT infrastructure in schools other than the new high school.
School financing is a complicated three-way system. The state provides funding on a per pupil basis, and there are no allowances for rural districts having to pay for more frequent replacement and more fuel expense for buses. These funds provide salaries and operating expenses.
Bonds are typically used for buildings, and expire when they are paid off. In connection with bonds, the marijuana excise tax and BEST grants are used for brick and mortar, helping to fund new schools or refurbishing of older schools.
Only the excise tax (15 percent on recreational sales) is used to help fund public education. There is a $40 million cap on this tax used to fund the grants. The monies collected above the $40 million is then added to the more than $5 billion budget for public education.
In 2015, the amount contributed to the general public education fund was just over $1.25 million.
Mill levies are based on your district’s property taxes. Districts in rural counties typically have to ask their communities for mill levy overrides to help overcome the lack of state funding. Rural districts have additional need for these funds. For example, a bus in the Denver area won’t acquire near the mileage a bus in rural areas will.
Our children are our future. Local public schools need to be adequately funded and be one of the reasons teachers and families move to this area.
Please vote yes on 3B if you live in School District RE-1.