Moffat County School Board backs Prop 103

At a glance ...

• Proposition 103 would increase the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent and raise the state sales and use tax rate from 2.9 to 3 percent for five years starting Jan. 1, 2012.

• Additional funding would support preschools, colleges and universities and kindergarten through 12th-grade schools.

• If approved, the measure is projected to raise about $2.9 billion over a five-year period.

By the numbers ...

Estimated annual income tax increases under Proposition 103

• Single person with Colorado taxable income of $27,379

— Current tax: $1,268

— Tax paid under Proposition 103: $1,369

— Increase: $101

• Single person with children, Colorado taxable income of $48,571

— Current tax: $2,248

— Tax paid under Proposition 103: $2,428

— Increase: $180

• Married couple filing jointly, Colorado taxable income of $85,283

— Current tax: $3,949

— Tax paid under Proposition 103: $4,264

— Increase: $315

Source: Figures found within the language of Proposition 103

If approved, a proposed measure to increase education funding in Colorado would be felt in taxpayers’ pocketbooks — something critics contend could hurt the state’s struggling economy.

But, in Jo Ann Baxter’s view, the cost of letting schools and districts go under funded will be higher.

“I’m not an economist, I’m not a numbers person, but it just seems to me that we will be hurting ourselves in the long run if we don’t properly fund education in the state of Colorado,” she said.

Baxter, president of the Moffat County School Board, and other school board members unanimously passed a resolution Aug. 25 that supports Initiative 25, now known as Proposition 103, which will appear before voters in November.

In her view, the money could help the district fill needs, like staffing. Yet whether the proposal will be enough to help schools weather a tumultuous economy has yet to be seen.

If passed in November, Proposition 103 would raise $2.9 billion for public education in Colorado over a five-year period. Those dollars would be spread around to all levels of education, from preschool to colleges and universities.

The proposition raises the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent, and the state sales and use tax rate would go up from 2.9 to 3 percent. Both increases would take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The Moffat County School District would receive an estimated $1.1 million annually from the measure if it passes, said Terry Scanlon, a policy analyst for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, one of the organizations advocating for the measure.

Baxter said the extra money could go a long way to attracting high-quality teachers and keeping educators the district already has.

“I believe that we have cut back on our employee base substantially in the last two or three years,” she said, adding the majority of those losses have been through attrition.

But, with added funds, officials could “continue to look and see if we’re paying our employees at a rate that cause them to want to stay here,” she said.

Additional funds could be a boon to the school district, which ranks near the bottom in terms of how much state money it gets.

“We are in the bottom 10 percent of per-pupil state funding,” District Finance Director Mark Rydberg said.

But, the funding isn’t permanent. After the measure sunsets in five years, school districts would return to their current funding level.

What happens to school districts at that point determines largely on whether the economy improves.

Proposition 103 may have been designed to act as a bridge to help school districts get through tough economic times, Rydberg said.

“Hopefully at the other end of the bridge is positive Colorado economic health,” he said.

If not, “you’re going to have large cuts because you won’t be able to afford what you grew to,” he added.

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Comments

cmawest 2 years, 7 months ago

you know, if the schools would actually spend the money on students education, rather than pay raises for themselves, more school bus drivers, etc. i might go along with them. if kids were getting smarter, i might agree.

what i see is a generation of kids losing their identities in front of a text message screen and on facebook, when tested they come out way below kids in other countries.

how much money do we need to throw at schools before we see our kids getting any smarter ? i once hired a moffat county high school graduate that couldn't read !! whats that about ?? i couldn't have gotten out of the third grade if i couldn't have read.

nope ! i won't vote for it till i see some real improvement in education.

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greenie52 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree with cmawest, when is enough , enough. The education system is not the only people to have to cut back, we have all had to cut back. It sure is funny though, when it gets bad lets raise taxes ( FOR THE KIDS ) thats is getting old. I might not have the truth here, but somebody let me know, when they passed the mill levy for the school , i heard the district went out and bought 5 new suburbans , juts wondering.

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