The Steamboat Springs School Board will vote Monday whether to endorse a proposed state tax increase that would raise an estimated $2.9 billion for Colorado public schools over five years.
If passed by voters in November, Proposition 103 would raise funds for public schools by increasing the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent and raise the state sales tax rate from 2.9 to 3 percent beginning Jan. 1.
Steamboat Springs school board president Robin Crossan and Vice President Brian Kelly were early supporters of the initiative that was recently OK’d for the ballot. Kelly said Sunday the school district could use the additional revenue from the tax increase to sustain school programs in the wake of potential budget cuts.
“We would be able to use it to keep programs that may be endangered in the next year or two,” Kelly said. “We were able to sustain them this year, but that will not continue indefinitely as the money dries up.”
Citing three years of state budget shortfalls that have resulted in cuts to K-12 funding of more than $700 million, the Colorado Association of School Boards also endorsed Heath’s proposal earlier this summer and asked the districts that the association represents to weigh in.
Board member Denise Connelly said Sunday she was still undecided on whether she would support the tax proposal on the November ballot.
“I still have to read about it a little bit more and hear the discussion we’ll be having as a board,” she said.
Steamboat Springs would be the first Routt County School District to endorse the measure. School Board members in Hayden and South Routt are expected to weigh in at meetings sometime this fall.
Also at Monday’s board meeting, the district will discuss the fate of two 21 acre parcels of land the district is trying to sell north of Clark. The district inherited the land in 1973, but determined it was unsuitable for a school site. Kelly said the district is hoping to come to an agreement with the board of directors of the Willow Creek Pass Village subdivision, who Kelly said has expressed interest in using the land as open space.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email ScottFranz@SteamboatToday.com