The ballot in November will include a new education funding measure for Jefferson County schools, including a modest property tax increase and bonding. The estimates I’ve seen project an increase in property taxes of $1.23 per month per $100,000 of home market value.
In the face of the recession and the ongoing state budget disaster, Jeffco Schools have been really aggressive in cutting costs while trying to hold the line on the quality of the classroom education. But in doing so they’ve run through their reserves and I don’t think they have much else to cut without doing real long-term damage.
Jeffco Schools have also been more open than many school districts to experimenting with new approaches to teacher evaluation and compensation.
I’m pretty sure the school funding system is broken – schools rely largely on a state funding and property tax system that basically requires they go back to the voters on a regular basis for tax increases – and I’m hopeful that within a few years the state will tackle the larger dysfunction in the way we fund schools. In the meantime, though, Golden’s quality of life and property values, not to mention the prospects of our children, depend a lot on how strong our public schools are. I support this funding measure and hope the voters give Jeffco Schools a much-needed revenue stream.
And, by the way, huge congrats to Jeffco Schools for achieving the third best graduation rate in the country among the 50 largest school districts.