Election Watch: D-11 Mill Levy Override - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Election Watch: D-11 Mill Levy Override

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Colorado Springs School District 11 operates 54 K-12 schools serving nearly 26,000 students.  It is the largest school district in southern Colorado.  Question 3E on the November 7 ballot asks voters to approve a mill levy override which would permanently increase property taxes by roughly $17 per month for a home worth $235,000, the median value of a home in D-11, according to Zillow.com.  80 percent of people who live in D-11 do not have school-age students enrolled in the district.  It has been nearly 20 years since voters last approved a funding increase for the district.

"The last time this type of funding was approved for District 11 was the year 2000," said Anthony Carlson, spokesperson for Friends of D-11, an organization campaigning in support of 3E.  "To put that into perspective, the graduating Class of 2018 was born that same year."

D-11 has identified six areas to be funded by the $42 million raised annually by the increased property taxes:
- Increased teacher salaries and benefits
- Repair and maintenance of existing schools, which are the oldest in the region
- Classroom technology upgrades
- A school resource officer (SRO) for every middle school
- More school counselors, nurses, and psychologists
- Quicker payoff of existing district debt, which would reduce the amount charged on property taxes each year

"Making sure that District 11 can recruit and retain the best teachers right here in D-11, making sure that we can stay up to date with routine maintenance of our buildings, making sure that we can replace out-of-date technology," Carlson said.

Supporters of 3E include a majority of Colorado Springs City Council.  Opponents include Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) author Douglas Bruce, who is suing D-11 for what he calls a violation of campaign finance laws over the district's printing of a postcard regarding the mill levy override.  "School District 11 is trying to hide their illegal activity, for which they've already been sued," Bruce told News 5 in September.

Voters in 2016 narrowly rejected both a mill levy override and a bond issue for D-11.  If 3E is approved, property owners would see the increase on their tax bill beginning next year.

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