Answers to 5A & 5B Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.
When will we vote on the Mill and Bond?
The Mill Levy Override and Bond will be on this November’s ballot. Election Day is November 6. Ballots will be mailed the week of October 15th. The ballot questions are 5A for the Mill and 5B for the Bond.
What is the difference between a Bond and Mill?
The Bond will provide funding for physical buildings and improvements – renovations, additions, and new schools. A Mill Levy Override is for those things that happen in the buildings – the salaries for teachers and staff, mental health support, and safety. One trick we use to remember the difference is Bond = Building and Mill Levy Override = Operating. Read more about the Bond and the Mill Levy Override.
Why do we need a Mill Levy Override and Bond?
Great schools make for a great Jeffco. They provide an educated workforce to attract businesses and protect property values. They also prepare our students for success, whether in college or a career, upon graduation. Passage of both a mill and bond will allow Jeffco Schools to:
- Better prepare all students for college and career
- Provide more mental health and suicide prevention support for students
- Ensure safer and healthier school buildings for all students
- Attract and retain the highest quality educators
What about the marijuana money?
The marijuana tax doesn’t generate nearly enough income to solve Colorado’s education funding problems. In 2017-18, the total marijuana tax revenue was $90.3 million. While that sounds like a lot of money, it is less than 2% of the state’s $5.6 billion K-12 budget. Jeffco has received a total of $2 million from the marijuana tax. Read more here.
We have so many more people here, doesn’t that mean more property tax income and more money for schools?
Local property taxes are one drop into Jeffco’s funding bucket, but they do not determine the amount of money available for our schools. The Colorado Public School Finance Act of 1994 determines the total amount of funding received by each school district.
The state makes up the difference between a school district’s local property tax and the total funding. As a result, when local property tax funding increases, the portion filled by the state is reduced and the total remains the same. Check out this great article about Jeffco Schools funding.
Local voters can make an impact, though - the funds from a Mill Levy Override like 5A stay local and are outside of this state funding calculation.
Didn’t we pass a mill and bond in 2012? Why do we need to do this again?
Yes, in 2012 Jeffco voters approved a $99 million bond and a $39 million mill. Those 2012 bond funds were used to address urgent facilities needs and ensure that our schools were warm, safe, and dry. Six years later, facilities have continued to age, and the list of needs has grown to $1.3 billion. The 2018 5B ballot question requests funds of up to $567 million for the prioritized capital facilities needs.
The 2012 mill primarily allowed Jeffco to stop budget reductions that would have been necessary without the additional funding. The 2018 5A Mill Levy Override will be used to attract and retain the best teachers and staff, improve school safety and security, and increase career and technical education programming and STEM options. Read more about 5B: Bond and 5A: Mill Levy Override.
How do taxpayers know Jeffco’s money is well managed?
The Colorado Public School Financial Transparency Act requires public school districts to make financial information, such as annual budgets, financial audit results, and salary schedules, available to the public. It is online and free to access. And, Jeffco does more than what is required. All financial information is available at their website.
Additionally, the citizen Financial Oversight Committee would monitor the funds received from the passage of the Mill Levy Override. The Capital Asset Advisory Committee monitors the district’s capital needs and their work would include monitoring the capital projects funded by the 2018 bond package. Read more about Jeffco’s transparency work in this recent blog post.
5A - Mill FAQ
Why does Jeffco need additional funding?
Great schools make for a great Jeffco. And Jeffco Schools can do more to ensure that our students, schools, and teachers are prepared, safe, and competitive. A mill levy override provides additional money used for programming, support, and keeping the best teachers in Jeffco.
How will these funds be used?
The funds from 5A will be used as follows:
- 50% to attract and retain the best teachers and staff
- 20% to increase school safety and security
- 10% to increase career and technical educational programming and STEM options
- 10% to update classroom materials and resources to prepare students for 21st century careers
- 10% to expand full-day kindergarten and preschool options
If Amendment 73 passes, does Jeffco still need the Mill Levy Override?
Yes! While Amendment 73 will help all schools in Colorado, it won't stop Jeffco from losing educators to Denver and Boulder. A mill levy override will help Jeffco offer competitive wages to attract and retain our best educators.
Why do we need more money for mental health? Didn't Jeffco just receive a grant for that?
Students’ mental health needs have been growing quickly in recent years. For example, Safe2Tell has received an increased number of reports from students reporting concerns such as friends who are suicidal, students who are threatening school violence, and more. This February, the statewide safety resource Safe2Tell received 2,292 reports, which is more than twice the 893 reports it received only a year earlier in February 2017. In the first three months of 2018, 1,304 Safe2Tell reports involved Jeffco students, including 203 reports of suicidal students, 190 regarding drugs, 128 about bullying, 88 about a planned school attack, and 74 about cutting. Jeffco is also seeing increased mental health needs among elementary school students. Unfortunately, most elementary schools are only allocated a half-time school psychologist or social worker. In order to meet student needs, 66 Jeffco’s elementary schools used their discretionary dollars to fund a full-time mental health worker.
This summer, a School Safety Task Force was formed to provide additional citizen input about what could be done to make schools safer. The task force will present its recommendations at the Oct. 4 Jeffco School Board meeting. Members from the task force have already spoken to the school board about the importance of providing additional mental health support throughout the K-12 system to handle the growing number of mental health needs. We can keep our schools safer by being more proactive than reactive.
How much with the Mill cost?
The $33 million mill levy override will cost $2.10/month per $100,000 in residential value. Find your assessed value here. A $300,000 home would be $6.31/month. Nonresidential taxes would increase $8.47/month for every $100,000 of property value.
5B - Bond FAQ
What will be done at my community school?
The funds from the bond package will benefit all schools in Jeffco. However, each school — just like each student — has different needs. Jeffco Schools has created a Facility Fact Sheet for each school in the district. You can access these here on our website or through the Jeffco Schools website.
Where is the detailed list of bond projects for the entire district?
To learn the details of the work to be completed at each school, you can review the Facility Fact Sheets. The 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan includes an annual capital transfer of $23 million in addition to the potential $567 million from 5B. We’ve summarized the projects included in this $705 million plan. And you can check our blog weekly - we're highlighting two different high school articulation areas in Jeffco and how they will benefit from the bond.
Do we really need more schools?
Yes. While the locations of new schools have not yet been finalized, growth in Northwest Arvada and West Central Lakewood in particular create the need for additional school buildings. While there may be available seats at other schools in the district, they are in small groups,often far from where new students are living, and perhaps not even at the needed level. There may be available seats at a high school in the southern part of the county, but that does not help an elementary school in the northern part of the community that is over capacity. We are one big community and transportation costs and time often make it ineffective to move children from one area to another.
Why does so much need to be done? Why hasn't Jeffco done this work before?
Jeffco does address capital renewal work through operating funds transferred to the capital budget known as the capital transfer. However, operating budget constraints do not permit a large enough capital transfer to keep up with the district’s aging buildings - which are on average nearly 50 years old and have needs totalling $1.3 billion. The expected life of system and mechanical items such as roofs, plumbing, heating, and electrical systems is shorter than that of the building as a whole and so must be replaced several times during a building’s lifetime. The facilities team regularly reviews the Capital Improvement Plan and prioritizes projects as Critical, Necessary, and Desirable. Voter approval of 5B will allow Jeffco Schools to complete projects beyond the urgently critical and provide healthier, safer schools and ensure quality classrooms for learning.
How many years will it take to complete this work?
This is a 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
How much will the bond cost?
The $567 million bond will cost $1.81/month per $100,000 in residential value. Find your assessed value here. A $300,000 home would be $5.42/month. Nonresidential taxes would increase $7.28/month for every $100,000 of property value.