An Update on Bond and Mill Levy Override Elections in Our Communities
Before last week’s election, we shared a story on mill levy and bond questions that would be brought to voters in communities across the state. Thirteen bond measure questions and 18 mill levy override questions appeared on ballots in 2017. How did they fare?
First, a refresher: a bond request usually asks voters for permission to take on more debt to meet capital needs, and sometimes to increase property taxes to pay off that debt. The funds generated from selling bonds can only be used for construction, maintenance or infrastructure needs. Mill levy override requests, on the other hand, may be used to increase teacher pay, purchase new curriculum, fund early childhood education, or invest in technology updates.
The Colorado School Finance Project has compiled results from the local elections. Of 13 bond measure questions, 10 passed. Two questions failed, in Manzanola and Crowley County school districts. Hayden’s measure for a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) matching grant is still too close to call.
Of the 18 mill levy override measures, 11 passed, five failed, and two are still too close to call (in Hayden and Briggsdale). Greeley-Evans School District passed its first-ever mill levy override. Colorado Springs D-11 succeeded in gaining voter approval of a $42 million annual property tax increase, the first increase for the district in 17 years.
For more on why our state’s system of basing school funding partially on local property values creates profound inequities, read our initial story on bond and mill levy questions.