Jeffco Schools Funding 101

Where does Jeffco Schools get its funding?

Jeffco Schools receives money from the State of Colorado, Jefferson County, student fees, and kindergarten tuition paid at schools where free full-day kindergarten is not offered.

Funding is based on a per-pupil calculation, which is determined by how many Jeffco students attend school on “count day” - the school day nearest October 1 each year. In 2017/2018, Jeffco Schools only received funding for 83,129 students although 84,911 students were actually enrolled.

The following funding amounts come from pages 66 and 75 of the Jeffco Schools 2018/2019 Adopted Budget. Numbers for the 2017/2018 school year are still estimates; the final financial report will be submitted to the state by December 31.

2017/2018 Jeffco Schools Funding

Jeffco Schools funding 2017-18

45% State of Colorado - $315,879,996

47% Property Taxes - $330,137,419

2% Specific Ownership Tax (State) - $14,747,040

2% Specific Ownership Tax (Local) - $14,652,960

3% Tuition, Fees & Other - $22,050,000

<1% Investment Earnings - $250,000


2018/2019 Jeffco Schools Projected Funding

Projected Jeffco Schools 18/19 funding

44% State of Colorado - $317,842,976

49% Property Taxes - $354,643,702

1% Specific Ownership Tax (State) - $10,698,516

3% Specific Ownership Tax (Local) - $19,701,484

3 % Tuition, Fees & Other - $22,050,000

<1% Investment Earnings - $250,000

You can read more about school finance in Colorado here and also here.


Does my Jefferson County property tax go to per-pupil funding for Jeffco Schools?

Some — but not all — of our property taxes go to Jeffco Schools. Property taxes also support county governments, special districts, libraries, municipal governments, and colleges. All Jeffco property taxes remain in Jeffco.


My property taxes went up, so does that mean the schools have more money now?

Property taxes are not directly related to school funding. The Public School Finance Act of 1994 uses a formula to calculate per-pupil funding for each of Colorado’s 178 school districts. Funding factors vary by district and include cost of living, district size, and the proportion of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In addition, a “budget stabilization factor” (sometimes called the negative factor) was implemented in the 2010-11 fiscal year to reduce the actual allocation of funds that each district receives in order to balance the budget. Since the factor was implemented, the state has used the factor to withhold a total of $642 million from Jeffco, including $75 million for 2018-19.

Also note that Jeffco Schools consistently receives LESS than Colorado’s average per-pupil funding. For the 2017/2018 school year, Colorado’s average per pupil funding was $7,662. However, Jeffco, due to various funding factors, only received $7,483 per student.


Where does Jeffco Schools spend its per-pupil dollars?

Per-pupil dollars go into the Jeffco Schools general fund, which pays for teaching, instructional support, special education, school administration, operations and maintenance, and general administration. Jeffco’s administrative costs are lower than our neighboring school districts. According to the Colorado Department of Education’s Financial Transparency website, Jeffco spends just $61 per-student annually on administrators. Compare that to our neighbors:

Per-student dollars spent on administration

Jeffco Schools - $61

Douglas County - $71

Denver Public Schools - $84

Cherry Creek - $89

Boulder Valley - $132


Money from local mills and bonds stays in Jeffco

Colorado’s School Finance Act allows school districts to raise additional local revenue — money for Jeffco Schools that stays in Jeffco’s schools.

On November 6, Jeffco voters will vote on a $33 million mill levy override and $567 million bond.

The mill levy override will cost Jeffco homeowners approximately $2.10 per month per $100,000 of home value.

The Jeffco School Board mandated that no mill funds may be used for senior central administration. All expenditures will be monitored by a citizen oversight committee — the Financial Oversight Committee. Funds will also be subject to an annual external audit.

The bond will cost Jeffco homeowners approximately $1.81 per month per $100,000 of home value.

No bond fund dollars may be used  for administrative staff. Bond funds will also be monitored by a citizen oversight committee — the Capital Asset Advisory Committee. Each will also receive an annual external audit.

Jeffco students receive significantly less per-pupil funding than their peers in nearby districts because neighboring districts have approved more mill levy overrides to support their students. In 2015-16, here’s how much more our neighbors spent on students:

Mill Levy Override Comparisons between districts

Denver Public Schools - $950 more than Jeffco

Boulder Valley School District - $901 more than Jeffco

Cherry Creek School District - $732 more than Jeffco

Littleton Public Schools - $526 more than Jeffco

Per-pupil funding obviously impacts and makes a difference in children’s education. You can be a difference maker by voting YES on both 5A and 5B to ensure a positive future for all Jeffco students.