Colorado public school districts seeking revenue increases will
first have to convince taxpayers, whose incomes have taken a hit in
recent years, that pay increases are necessary.
Ben DeGrow of the Denver-based Independence Institute says four of
the five districts with bond issues on the upcoming ballot are
doing significantly better financially than families in the
counties they cover.
"What we see is that even in this very difficult period of
recession and slowdown to revenue growth, even in that time, most
of these districts are actually bringing in a little bit more money
per student than they were before," DeGrow reports. "So it's not a
sustainable pattern, and it's time to look at how the money's being
If the vote on a tax hike last year is any indication, he
predicts this year's initiatives may well be defeated.
"Proposition 103, the education statewide tax that lost with
only 36 percent of voters supporting it, and at the same time,
about two-thirds of local school tax increases being defeated --
people are saying it's time for school agencies to be more
productive with the tax dollars they have, because they are
hurting," the policy analyst notes.
Per-pupil tax revenues for the five districts range from about
$8,500 to $11,000.