Mill levy override earns support

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A proposed mill levy override for the Adams County School District 50 is now backed by two major entities: the city of Westminster and the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District. Both the Westminster city council and the Hyland Hills board of directors passed resolutions supporting the mill levy override.

If approved on Nov. 5, the mill levy override would raise $5.25 million, which equates to an increase of $6.63 per month and $86 per year on a home valued at $100,000. Bill Christopher, co-chair of the Invest in Success Committee supporting the mill levy override, said the money will basically take the place of the cash reserves used this year to balance the budget and does not provide anything major in the way of new programs or capital expenditures.

“The mill levy override will basically maintain what the district is doing now and keep the momentum the district has achieved in the last couple of years,” he said. “If the $5.25 million isn’t there, then the school district will be faced with some challenging decisions as far as balancing the budget in subsequent years.”

Christopher said some of the money will go heating and cooling improvements in existing schools, but no new schools will be built with the funding.

“These improvements will happen over the years,” he said. “It won’t all get done in one year for sure.”

Steve Saunders, communications director for the district, said this is the first mill levy override put before the voters since 2002, and if approved, will make up for a dramatic reduction in funding from the state. The district currently receives about $6900 from the state per student, which dropped from $7,500 four years ago, he added.

“To make up the difference and maintain educational programming over the past several years, the Board of Education dipped into its fund balance,” he said.

With Election Day just weeks away, the Invest in Success Committee is focusing on getting information on the mill levy override to district residents. Deb Haviland, committee co-chair, said she is pleased with the fundraising done so far, and now the push is getting informative documents into the mail to residents.

“We need to get the message out to the community,” she said. “This mill levy override is extremely important for the district because it will allow the momentum that the district has made over the last couple years. We have to keep that momentum going.”

Haviland said the committee will also be conducting phone trees in the future to spread the word to explain to district residents the importance of a local charge to benefit the students, rather than at the state level.

“We can’t count on the state for everything,” she said. “Sometimes we have to come right in our community and our community needs to take care of our students who deserve our support.”

The ballot language focuses on our key objectives: providing student with instruction and basic skills for success in college, and the work place, keeping highly qualified teachers and staff in the classroom, providing each child access to comprehensive education and providing funds necessary for the health and well-being of students.

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