Steamboat Springs School Board supports Proposition 103
Steamboat is first school district in Routt County to support state tax increase
September 12, 2011
By the numbers
Estimated annual revenue from Proposition 103 by school district
Steamboat Springs: $1.2 million
South Routt: $263,000
Estimated tax impact by a person’s annual income
$50,000: $144 a year
$100,000: $283 a year
*Source: Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday unanimously voted to support a November ballot initiative that would net an estimated $2.9 billion for Colorado public schools over five years by raising the state's income and sales taxes.
Board members cited the potential of future budget cuts in their district as the reason for their support of Proposition 103.
Before she endorsed the measure, board member Denise Connelly acknowledged that it’s a difficult time to seek a tax increase.
"I do know that there are people in town that are really, really hard hit in this economy," she said. "I also know that the school is facing even more cuts, and being on the board, I will have to support this and hopefully it goes to the voters and they will decide whether to support it based on their own economic situations."
Proposition 103 would generate an estimated $532 million next year for school districts in Colorado by raising the state income tax rate from 4.63 to 5 percent, and the sales tax from 2.9 to 3 percent starting Jan. 1.
Terry Scanlon, a fiscal policy analyst for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, which has endorsed the tax initiative, said it would net the Steamboat school district an estimated $1.2 million in its first year of passage based on current funding formulas for public schools in Colorado. The school district noted in the resolution they adopted to support the tax increase that their program funding was trimmed by nearly $1.2 million this school year.
However, it is still unclear how revenue generated from the tax initiative would be distributed among schools, and Scanlon said that Steamboat's revenue figure could change once that becomes clear.
Before Monday's meeting, board member Brian Kelly said there were a number of school programs that could be saved by additional funding next year. He cited the Steamboat's fifth-grade band program, something he said was on the cusp of being nixed this year, and current staffing levels across the district as things that could avoid cuts if the schools receive funds from the tax initiative.
"With the extra money we'd likely not have to cut teachers or the band program or take some funding out of our athletic budget," Kelly said. "Programs are the next level of cuts, and those include P.E., athletics, and things like music classes and art."
And like Kelly, board President Robin Crossan said that Proposition 103 won't likely add to their overall budget next year, but it would help the district maintain its current programs and staffing levels.
"I look at this as breaking even," she said before the vote.
Steamboat Springs is the first school district in Routt County to endorse the measure. The South Routt School District will weigh in at a meeting Thursday night, and Hayden School Board President Brian Hoza said Monday his board will likely consider supporting it at an upcoming meeting.
Also at Monday night's meeting in Steamboat, the board approved a contract offer to sell two 21-acre parcels of land the district owns north of Clark to the Willow Creek Pass Village subdivision for $100,000. Kelly said the neighborhood's board of directors had agreed Monday to purchase the land and use it as open space. The funds the district receives for the land will be added to its capital reserve fund.
– To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email ScottFranz@SteamboatToday.com