On Oct. 14, the Steamboat Springs School Board discussed Amendment 66. Many community members on both sides of the issue expressed their opinions. The board finally voted, 3-1, to not support Amendment 66. A resolution to oppose the amendment was not brought forward.
Following are some important facts concerning this amendment and the related Senate Bill 213:
■ School funding in Colorado would be expanded from solely depending on property tax to also benefiting from an income tax. Income tax rates would increase from 4.63 to 5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income and to 5.9 percent on any taxable income at higher than $75,000.
■ By some conservative estimates, $6.7 million would be raised in our district and $1.5 million would return to our district.
■ If passed, our district’s funding would increase from the current $6,640 per pupil to $7,020 per pupil.
■ Funds would be shared equally with state charter schools. These funds would be for programs serving gifted and talented students, English language learners, special education, full-day kindergarten and early childhood education.
■ The school funding formula would be changed to eliminate the cost-of-living factor while placing more emphasis on at-risk students who are more expensive to educate. The elimination of the cost-of-living factor especially impacts Colorado resort communities and accounts for a considerable reduction in our district’s share of the state funds.
■ Districts impacted by the elimination of the cost-of-living factor will be allowed to appeal to the voters at a later time for a tax mill levy override to replace the resulting reduction in funds.
In conclusion, Amendment 66 has many benefits for the state of Colorado as a whole. Steamboat Springs School District will see an increase of about $1.5 million. This follows four years of budget cuts amounting to more than $ 4 million. Long-term funding is not addressed by this amendment. As a result, whether this amendment passes, our district still will need to address future education expenses with either further program cuts or by raising revenue from mill levy overrides and/or Education Fund Board sales tax increases.
Steamboat Springs School Board members