A step in the right direct, 4A mill levy passed for Poudre School District

Colorado ranks among the lowest in the nation for K-12 education funding.

Colorado ranks among the lowest in the nation for K-12 education funding.

Gigi LeBerger, Academics Writer

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Colorado’s 2019 Elections started counting votes on November 5, and many of the ballot questions can be easily predicted before finalization in a couple more days. One of the most looked upon questions in Northern Colorado was the Mill Levy Override Ballot Issue 4A for Poudre School District.

A mill levy is a property tax that is based on the assessed value of the property. One mill is equivalent to a dollar every thousand dollar assessed value. Eighteen million will be going towards the teacher salaries, safety/mental health systems in schools, and charter schools.

The state decided fourteen million dollars would go towards increasing the salaries for teachers, reconstructing the licensed staff salary schedule, and maintaining competitive staff wages, two million dollars would go to mental health and safety/security, and with one million dollars going to PSD charter schools as per the state law. None of the money will fund capital improvements or administration, according to PSD.

Funding for the increase will come from an increase in property tax for Northern Colorado residents. For every hundred thousand dollar value of a home, there is a three dollar increase per month.

The mill levy allows school districts to collect more money from the state to support salary increases and hire additional staff. The starting salary for teachers in the Poudre School District is the lowest based on neighboring schools in Northern Colorado, like the Thompson and Weld districts. Also, Loveland, St. Vrain, and Weld County School districts have already passed a similar levy to increase their teacher salaries, causing PSD to fall behind.

In an interview with Tom List, the president of the Poudre Education Association, he stated, “that not offering competitive compensation makes it hard for the district to attract the best and brightest. We knew we needed to do more to help people sustain their careers here in Poudre School District.”

The main intention for the mill levy was to simply fund an increase in the salaries of the teachers, but after the voting, the school security and mental health system was a big area of concern, making sure every school has a full time counselor and that the schools have psychologists per every 700 students, whereas right now most schools in Poudre School District only have one with schools well over two thousand students.

Brandon McGaffin, a senior at Fossil Ridge High School stated, “I think the school needs to pay attention and give more support to each student individually. I haven’t even met nor seen our psychologist my whole time at Fossil.”

Initiation of this new levy won’t take place until early next year but the school board and the state have to start planning out how to efficiently implement this into our school system.