An Update on Bond and Mill Levy Override Elections in Our Communities

Written by: Leslie Colwell
Date Posted: November 17, 2017

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.

Leslie Colwell

About Leslie Colwell

Leslie Colwell serves as the Vice President of K-12 Education Initiatives, leading the Campaign’s work to improve education in the state of Colorado. Before joining the Children’s Campaign in August of 2014, Leslie worked to facilitate partnerships and produce policy agreements, especially in the area of education as an Associate at The Keystone Center. Her professional experience includes working as Legislative Director for State Senator Mike Johnston, managing his education policy portfolio (including his office’s work on HB12-1238, Colorado’s READ Act, and SB13-033, ASSET), and directing a policy fellowship for educators for three summers. Leslie has also worked on Teach For America’s alumni team, and before that taught 6th grade Math and Earth Science as a TFA corps member at Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School in Los Angeles. She currently serves on the board of the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO) and on the steering committee of the Colorado Afterschool Partnership.