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School board supports Proposition 103

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By Emile Hallez

Staff Writer

The Jeffco school board threw its support behind Proposition 103 last week, a measure that could bring $35 million to $40 million in tax revenue to the district per year through 2016.

Under the proposition, state tax rates would increase to the same levels of 1999, garnering an estimated $2.9 billion in additional funds to pay for K-12 education in public schools. State sales tax would be raised from 2.9 percent to 3 percent, and income tax would increase from 4.63 percent to 5 percent.

Supporters say the measure would cost a typical state family about $150 per year. The proposal would expire after five years.

Board member Laura Boggs cast the lone dissenting vote on the resolution, and board members Paula Noonan, Dave Thomas and Robin Johnson voted in favor. Board member Jane Barnes was absent.

Jeffco Public Schools is facing cuts of about $70 million over the next two years, and further reductions in staff will likely be required regardless of the proposition’s success, Superintendent Cindy Stevenson said.

“I’m speculating that the reductions would be lessened,” she said. “It will be staff, because all of our money is tied up in compensation. … The only way you can reduce a budget by $35 million is to reduce your people or your compensation.”

The board’s resolution states that the proposition is only a temporary means of mitigating some of the state’s budgetary problems.

Opponents of the measure contend it would be too costly to taxpayers and would likely have little impact on student learning.

 

Contact Emile Hallez at emile@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22. For updates, check www.ColumbineCourier.com.