PUEBLO – The Pueblo D60 School Board voted 3-2 Thursday to ask voters this November to approve a mill levy override to increase school funding.
The decision comes months after the D60 school board announced it was surveying voters about a potential ballot question. The research determined there was interest in raising property taxes to provide an extra $6 million in funding annually to Pueblo schools.
Results from that survey showed 70 percent of the 400 voters sampled said they would either definitely or probably vote yes. That figure has a margin or error of approximately 4.9 percent and was conducted prior to the teacher strike.
The district surveyed voters on the following draft question:
“Shall Pueblo School District No. 60 taxes be increased by 6 million dollars in 2018 (for collection in 2019) and by such amounts generated annually thereafter by a mill levy of up to 6 Mills, to be extended for educational purposes to improve the quality of schools in the school district, which include:
• 50 percent toward increasing Teacher and Staff salaries in equal amounts adjusted for full or part-time status;
• 30 percent toward maintaining school buildings and infrastructure;
• 20 percent toward improving school safety, security, and mental health services;
And shall such increase be an additional property tax mill levy in excess of the levies the District is otherwise authorized by law to impose; and shall the district be authorized to collect, retain, and spend all revenues from such taxes and the earnings from the investment of such revenues as a voter approved revenue change and an exception to the limits that would otherwise apply under Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution?”
If the proposal passes, it would cost residents about $44 each year for a property valued at $100,000.
While the survey showed 70 percent of the voter sample supported the idea, some at the school board meeting opposed the idea.
“A business, they’re going to be paying four times what a residential property of the same valuation does. That tends to make commercial people very shy about any tax increase,” said Pueblo County resident Dean Hall.
However, others said this was a long time in the making and that Pueblo City Schools need the funding to keep up with other Colorado districts.
“Our district is struggling to keep pace with other districts in the state, our buildings are crumbling and the safety of our staff and students should be our top priority,” said resident Cary Palumbo.
The election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 6.