The Douglas County School Board will likely decide next month whether to ask voters for a bond or a mill levy override after hearing polling results and the recommendation of the Mill Bond …
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The Douglas County School Board will likely decide next month whether to ask voters for a bond or a mill levy override after hearing polling results and the recommendation of the Mill Bond Exploratory Committee.
The Mill Bond Exploratory Committee, or MBEC, was formed in January by a board vote to assess operational and capital needs of the district, as well as the likelihood of passing a mill levy override or a bond in November. The MBEC is scheduled to give its recommendation to the board at the June 7 meeting.
The MBEC recently completed feasibility polling that will provide the board with an idea of the community’s reaction to a bond or mill levy override proposal when the results are available.
“Our big focus over the summer will be to continue to talk to our community as much as we can about how we’re funded and what challenges we’re facing,” Superintendent Erin Kane said on May 24.
Following the MBEC recommendation and polling results, the board will likely vote at its June 21 meeting about whether to put a bond or mill levy override question on the November ballot. The deadline to notify Douglas and Elbert counties about participating in the election is July 29.
The mill levy override or bond have been identified as key to making the district’s compensation competitive and ensuring capital project needs. The 2022-23 budget identifies an average of 8% increase to licensed staff compensation and an average of 6% increase for unlicensed staff compensation, as well as retention bonuses.
A Feb. 8 study session covered a lengthy list of capital needs in the district, from new buildings to bolstering security to updating IT equipment. The 2021-22 Master Capital Plan identifies between $765 million and $847 million in capital projects, including $423 million for new construction.
Public comment at the May 24 meeting included vocal support for a bond or mill levy override to support staff compensation.
“Our teachers are underpaid and deserve more,” Holly Horn said. “I hope all stakeholders can unite in supporting the MLO and ensure we can keep pur wonderful teachers in DCSD.”
Voters last approved a $40 million mill levy override and $250 million bond in 2018, which was dedicated to capital reinvestment, facilities, transportation and technology needs.
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