Jul 29, 2014 12:15 AM by Kelsey Kennedy

El Paso County School Districts to put Funding Question on Ballot

As area students are getting ready to go back to school in the next couple of weeks, News 5 has learned that six local districts plan to ask taxpayers for more money with questions on the November ballot. While both provide money for school districts, bonds are for building renovations and new construction. A levy will replenish ongoing operational expenses.

Ellicott, Harrison, Peyton, Falcon, Edison and Cheyenne Mountain school districts have all filed paperwork with the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's office saying they intend to put district funding questions on the November ballot.

Because final ballot language isn't due to the Clerk and Recorder until September, many districts still have work sessions left to determine the exact amount they'll be asking taxpayers for and how that money will be spent.

District 49 in Falcon is growing fast, so administrators have been planning expansion projects for the past two years to accommodate new students. They're keeping in mind the community expects them to make the most of available resources.

"We heard that message, and that's why our board spent two years listening to the community and making sure that everything that we're asking for is essential," says Chief Education Officer, Peter Hilts.

A $125,000,000 bond issue will go before voters at a cost of $1.50 per month per $100,000 of home value. The money would create additions for five current buildings and add four more schools in the district, including a charter high school, two elementary schools and a middle school.

District 49 will also ask voters to extend the 2005 mill levy. That will be used to improve educational programs, technology and security, while keeping teacher compensation competitive.

Hilts says they want to create options to meet all of their student's differing needs by offering charter school through 12th grade, vocational options at all high schools and a free college tuition concurrent enrollment program.

"So we have lots of parents that want lots of different things, so our goal through this mill levy and this bond is to try to meet as many of those needs as we possibly can," he says.

The last two bond issues that District 49 put on the ballot failed in 2011 and 2012.



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