With the help of new votes, Jeffco Public Schools is successful on both ballot initiatives

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By Deborah Swearingen

As more votes are counted, it appears there has been a shift in fate for Jeffco Public Schools. 

While it initially appeared that one of the school district's two ballot measures failed in Tuesday's election, it is now looking as though Jeffco might pull out a victory on both. 

Unofficial results, updated around 11 p.m. Nov. 9, indicate both ballot measure 5A and ballot measure 5B will pass. The first is $33 million mill levy override, while the second is a $567 million bond.  

Some 163,029 voters voted in favor of the property tax increase, while 134,262 voted against it. Likewise, 148,488 voted in favor of the bond issue compared to the 147,318 who voted against it. 

Prior reporting from the Courier indicates funds from the successful mill levy increase will be earmarked for teacher compensation, expansion of career/technical education, expansion of full-day kindergarten, increased school security and increased mental health support for students.

Funds from the bond, on the other hand, will go toward school improvements, including replacing three elementary schools, including Marshdale Elementary in Evergreen; building two new schools in central Lakewood and the northwest suburbs; and constructing classroom additions at 23 other schools, including Parmalee, Wilmot and Powderhorn elementary schools, Bell Middle and Evergreen Middle, and both Columbine High and Conifer High.

In a Jeffco Public Schools study session held the morning after the election, Superintendent Jason Glass remained hopeful that the district could pull through.

"It's still in the cards that 5B could get across the finish line," he said. 

It's not over yet. But with just 2,100 military/overseas ballots and signature challenges outstanding, it seems likely Jeffco will pull out a win. 

Amendment 73
A statewide school funding initiative known as Amendment 73 was rejected by Colorado voters with Jeffco voting similarly.

As of Monday morning, 1,273,483 Coloradans voted against the measure, and 1,079,147 voted in favor of it. Likewise, 155,644 Jeffco voters were against it while 140,187 voted in favor.

The amendment, which had been backed by a number of Jeffco Public Schools supporters, would’ve generated $1.6 billion annually for P-12 education in Colorado by raising income taxes for those whose annual income exceeds $150,000 and increasing the corporate tax rate.