A man and a woman sitting next to one another, smiling.
Douglas County school board president Mike Peterson and Superintendent Erin Kane watch election results come in at Duke's Steakhouse in Castle Pines. Early results show voters passing the $66 million mill levy override for teacher raises by 52%. Credit: Photo by McKenna Harford

With the passing of ballot measure 5A, Douglas County voters gave the school district official approval to give teachers a pay increase.

The $66 million mill levy override will fund an average of a 9% salary increase for teachers and help close the salary gap between Douglas County and other metro area districts. Funding will also go to increasing staff compensation across the board and expanding school resource officers in elementary schools.

The measure passed with just over 52% voting yes. About 47% of residents voted against it.

On election night, Superintendent Erin Kane said she is cautiously optimistic about the results of the mill levy override and the community coming out to support teachers and school staff.

“I am so happy for my teachers because they absolutely deserve to be paid more competitively,” she said. “The results that they’ve generated for our kids are unbelievable.”

Teacher salaries have continued to be an issue for the south metro school district as other Denver metro school districts have increased teacher pay by as much as $20,000 a year more than Douglas County currently offers.

However, the school district was not as successful in passing ballot measure 5B, which would have provided funding to improve school infrastructure and new schools.

5B failed with 52% of voters saying no and 48% voting to approve.

The $484 million bond would have funded three new elementary schools, the expansion of two middle schools, and building maintenance across the district, including security upgrades.

Kane told Colorado Community Media that the district board and staff will have to look at creative solutions to fund needed school improvements.

It has been 11 years since the district built a new school.

McKenna Harford contributed to this story.

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