District 50 plans two questions on November ballot

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Adams County School District 50 is going for a second try on a mill levy override for the November election, and also adding on a bond question.

During the June 23 meeting, the board unanimously approved a signal of intent to the community to move forward with both questions, after staff recommendation. Final language and the increase amount will not be finalized until the fall.

The decision comes after budget shortfalls and unknown state funding for future school years. The board recently approved a $3.8 million cut to the 2014-2015 budget, which comes in the form of the elimination of 63 positions and an increase in pupil-teacher ratios of 1.5 students. The cut is a result of a $5.25 million mill levy override failure last November, which would have replenished reserve funds used to balance last year’s budget.

“We will have to continue to make budget cuts, which will have a direct impact on the education of our students,” said chief operations officer James Duffy. “We already had to make over $3.5 million in cuts for the upcoming school year, so administration is recommending the board to signal its intent to place a bond and mill levy override on the November election.”

Last November, around 60 percent of voters voted against a mill levy override. If it had been approved, district residents would have seen an increase of $6.63 per month and $86 per year based on a home valued at $100,000. Although the measure wasn’t passed, it was backed by two major entities: the city of Westminster and the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District.

Board member Dino Valente is prepared to work closely with the community to get both the bond and mill levy override passed. During the meeting he admitted the district asked for too much money, but also said pointed out the community was also faced with state measures including Amendment 66, which also failed to pass.

“Amendment 66 was an absolute disaster, one of the worst items placed on a ballot on education in state history,” he said. “That certainly didn’t help us. The choices we need to make for our district are different than those in neighboring districts. It’s time District 50 takes care of District 50.”