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Future Funding FAQs

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Jeffco Funding Questions

Why is Jeffco Public Schools asking for more funding?

To help students and enhance student learning. Bond funds would support capital improvements at every school. Mill Levy Override funds would support teacher and staff compensation. Please see the Bond and Mill Levy pages for details.

 

We give you a lot of money, what are you doing with it?

We spend public education dollars on the people, services, and materials that make educating our students possible. All public schools in Colorado follow mandatory financial transparency laws, including Jeffco Public Schools. We also go a step further and have all our financial information available online. Our biggest expense is people: teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers, custodians, and more. These are the people who teach our kids, who keep our schools operating, and keep our schools safe. Competitive compensation and benefits are one of the key factors to attracting and keeping quality employees who serve our students and community.

 

How does Jeffco's funding compare to nearby districts?

Comparisons per pupil revenue, mill levies and bonds:

District # of Students State Per Pupil Funding 2017/18 Mill Levy Override Per Pupil 2017/18 Outstanding Bonds Per Pupil 2016/17
Denver 91,794  $7,925 $2,266 $20,585
 Jeffco 86,112
(2nd)
$7,478
(4th)
$1,316
(5th)
$4,485
(6th)
Douglas 67,597 $7,369 $499 $4,513
Cherry Creek 55,657 $7,630 $2,048 $10,299
Boulder 31,282 $7,582 $2,217 $23,203
Littleton 15,643 $7,373 $1,842 $8,695

 

 

Why not cut central staff and give more funding to the teachers who need it?

Central services have been cut several times in the last decade. Jeffco Public Schools spends about 4% of the compensation budget on central administration. Further cuts to central services will not result in the scale of dollars necessary to make impactful compensation and staffing additions in schools and every cut reduces support to schools.

Jeffco Public Schools spends less on central administration than many surrounding districts. Dr. Glass published an On the Issues report on this last October.

District District Admin Spending
Boulder Valley $132 per student
Cherry Creek $89 per student
Denver Public Schools $84 per student
Douglas County $71 per student
Jeffco Public Schools $61 per student

 

Central services includes support for all schools in areas such as special education, gifted and talented, curriculum, human resources, student services (counseling, diversity), English language learners, food service, security, transportation, legal services, building maintenance, IT, and more. Only about 0.46% of the compensation budget, or $2 million, of our $714 million general fund goes towards executive-level administration (chiefs and executive directors). Seventy percent of the general fund supports instruction.

 

Jeffco Bond/Mill History

We voted for more funding in 2012, where did that money go?

The 2012 "warm, safe, and dry" bond and mill levy override was much appreciated; the funds were invested in capital improvements at almost all our schools. The mill levy override helped stop further reductions planned for FY 2014 and restored lost work days for staff.

Take a look at the lists below for a history of bonds and mill levy overrides requested and received in the past 20 years.


Bonds

  • 1998 – $265 Million
  • 2004 – $323.8 Million
  • 2008 – Defeated
  • 2012 – $99 Million
  • 2016 – Defeated

Note: Bonds end with the repayment of the debt.

 

Mill Levy Overrides

  • 1998 – Defeated
  • 1999 – $35.8 Million ($45 Million authorized)
  • 2004 – $38.5 Million
  • 2008 – Defeated
  • 2012 – $39 Million
  • 2016 – Defeated
    TOTAL = $113.3 Million

Note: Mill levies continue unless changed by election.

State Funding

How does Colorado compare to other states in terms of K-12 education funding?

Colorado’s per pupil spending has been dropping from national averages since the early 1990s and is now $2,200 less than the national average, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. That means that schools in Colorado rank 42nd in the nation in per-student spending. This has been brought about by a mixture of competing state constitutional provisions (see below for more information about the Budget Stabilization Factor and Amendment 23).

Looking at all combined funds (federal, state, and local), here are the top 10 spending states, compared to Colorado:

State Per Pupil Spending
DC $29,949
NY $24,116
AK $22,338
CT $21,484
NJ $21,097
WY $20,889
VT $20,291
MA $18,387
PA $17,937
RI $17,416
US Average $13,246
CO $11,010

 

What is the Budget Stabilization Factor (formerly known as the Negative Factor)?

The state legislature enacted the Negative Factor in 2010 to help balance the state budget during the recession. It essentially cuts the amount of funding to public K-12 education that is spelled out in state law (Amendment 23). Since 2010, Jeffco Public Schools has been underfunded $642 million compared to pre-recession levels. For this current budget year alone, our schools are being underfunded $75 million compared to pre-recession levels.

 

What is Amendment 23?

Amendment 23 was a state constitutional change passed in 2000 to reverse a decade of budget cuts experienced by Colorado school districts throughout the 1990s. The law was only followed through 2009; then the Negative Factor was imposed.

State Marijuana Funding

Where is all the pot money? Doesn't it fix the school funding shortage?

Some of the state tax revenue from retail marijuana sales funds state education grant programs, but "pot money" is never going to be adequate to fix public school funding.

The entire state is eligible to apply for $40-60 million of school grant funds each year. Jeffco has received $2 million since the inception of marijuana funding. This is less than 0.3% of Jeffco's general fund annual budget for 2017/18. Here are a couple of news stories that illustrate where the money goes:


General Bond/Mill Questions

What is the difference between and Bond and a Mill Levy Override?

A bond supports the school building itself; mill levy override funds support what happens in the building. Bonds are similar to a mortgage for school buildings and other facilities needs. A mill levy override provides funds for ongoing operations expenses such as teacher salaries, classroom materials, computer equipment for students, counseling support, and school safety staff.

Both a bond and a mill levy override are funded through property taxes.


Specific 2018 Bond/Mill Questions

What schools will receive an addition if the bond passes?

Elementary school additions:

  • Edgewater Elementary School (Edgewater)
  • Lumberg Elementary School (Edgewater)
  • Molholm Elementary School (Lakewood)
  • Foster Elementary School (Arvada)
  • Powderhorn Elementary School (Littleton)
  • Parmalee Elementary School (Indian Hills)
  • Wilmot Elementay School (Evergreen)

Middle school additions:

  • Bell Middle School (Golden)
  • Evergreen Middle School (Evergreen)
  • The Manning School (Golden)
  • Oberon Middle School (Arvada)
  • Wayne Carle Middle School (Westminster)

High school additions:

  • Alameda International Jr/Sr High School (Lakewood)
  • Arvada High School (Arvada)
  • Columbine High School (Littleton)
  • Conifer High School (Conifer)
  • Green Mountain High School (Lakewood)
  • Jefferson Jr/Sr High School (Edgewater)
  • Pomona High School (Arvada)
  • Ralston Valley High School (Arvada)
  • Standley Lake High School (Westminster)

Other additions:

  • Jeffco Open School (Lakewood)
  • Three Creeks K-8 (Arvada)

 

What schools will be replaced if the bond passes?

Kendrick Lakes Elementary School (Lakewood), Marshdale Elementary School (Evergreen), and Prospect Valley Elementary School (Wheat Ridge) will all receive on-site replacements if the bond passes.

 

What new schools will be built if the bond passes?

Locations for new school sites are not final. We have plans for schools in West Central Lakewood and NW Arvada but haven’t settled on a specific locations at this time. These will likely be elementary schools.

 

Keep in mind that ALL SCHOOLS will receive improvements if a bond is passed. For information about what would happen at each school, visit our Facilities Facts Page.

 

How much would the proposed bond and mill cost property owners?

Our estimates are a $46.92/year increase for homeowners per $100K of house value and a $188.96/year increase for commercial property owners per $100K of value. (These are estimates based on current data, interest rates, etc.)

Arguments For and Against the Bond and Mill

Information will be added here as we receive the comments for the Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book).
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