MEEKER | The election ballot this fall will be long and filled with numerous questions before the voters in Colorado. On the ballot will be two questions which can both significantly impact the Meeker School District.
Ballot Issue 4A was placed on the ballot by the Meeker School District asking our residents to pass a bond that will provide funding for a new high school and bus garage. There have been, and will continue to be, numerous communications about the specifics of 4A shared with our community.
Amendment 73 is a statewide ballot initiative which would provide additional operating revenue for all public school districts in Colorado. The amendment is written in a manner that requires this revenue increase to be new money for schools in addition to current funding. It only impacts taxes levied by school districts. Amendment 73 will not negatively impact revenues for other taxing entities. Though some opponents of the measure at the state level have made this claim, it has been found to be incorrect by independent legal council.
To generate the additional revenue for schools, Amendment 73 increases income tax on taxable income over $150,000. It also increases the corporate income tax for C corporations. At the same time it freezes the residential property tax assessment rate and reduces the nonresidential property tax assessment rate for school taxes only. Amendment 73 is projected to bring $1.2 million annually to the Meeker School District. These changes to the income tax code impact approximately 7 percent of the residents in Rio Blanco County.
With this additional revenue, the Meeker School District would focus on the following priorities:
– Competitive compensation for current staff
– Additional high school teachers to address current and projected large class sizes
– Additional educational program offerings including, but not limited to, STEM offerings
– School supplies and equipment for students
– Technology purchases
– Upgrades to school vehicles
It is important to also acknowledge that priorities will evolve through staff and community engagement because additional revenue from Amendment 73 will continue on an annual basis.
Arguments for Amendment 73 include:
– The state needs an adequate revenue source to fund public education
– The measure provides property tax relief for nonresidential property owners
– One of government’s most important functions is to provide high quality education
– Stabilizing the local share of school funding helps the state’s general budget
Arguments in opposition to Amendment 73 include:
– Increasing some income taxes could negatively impact the state’s economy
– Increased spending does not guarantee increased academic achievement
– The measure complicates an already complicated tax system
– The measure does not allow for adjustment of the tax threshold to address inflation
Amendment 73 and Ballot Issue 4A are very different tax measures with different purposes. It is important our community understand both of these ballot measures and their impact on our school district. Community members with questions about either ballot measure are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-878-9040. Additional information may also be found at www.meeker.k12.co.us.
By CHRIS SELLE | MSD Superintendent