Steamboat Springs School Board to consider opposing measures
School Board says Proposition 101 and Amendments 60, 61 would reduce revenues
August 2, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs School Board tonight will consider a motion to oppose three anti-tax ballot measures that will be posed to Colorado voters in November.
The measures, Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61, are citizen-led initiatives aimed at decreasing taxes and government spending.
■ Proposition 101 would reduce car registration, license and title fees to $10; reduce income tax rates from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent; eliminate fees imposed by FASTER (enacted last year to generate revenue to repair the state's roads and bridges); exempt $10,000 from vehicle sales; eliminate car rental sales tax; and eliminate telecommunications fees except funding for 911 services. Full implementation would take four years.
■ Amendment 60 would force school districts to cut their mill levies in half by 2020; repeal voter-approved property tax revenues in excess of TABOR; require that property tax increases expire after 10 years; allow taxpayers to petition for property tax decreases during every election and require enterprises and authorities to pay property taxes.
■ Amendment 61 would prohibit the state from taking loans and incurring debt; require that local governments — including school districts — get voter approval to borrow, limited to 10 years, and force the entity to cut taxes equal to the average annual payment of the loan after it is paid. The state's interest-free loan program for schools would be eliminated.
School Board President Robin Crossan said board members would consider a resolution to oppose the ballot measures because they significantly would affect the district's revenue sources.
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She said Proposition 101 would cost the district $1.23 million during a four-year period in reduced revenue from specific ownership taxes. Crossan said Amendment 60 would eliminate two mill levy overrides totaling more than $1.47 million, which voters approved to help attract and retain teachers. She said Amendment 61 would make it difficult for the district to move forward with new projects, having to repay bonds in 10 years.
"The passage of all three would be pretty devastating" School Board member Brian Kelly said, "not only to Steamboat Springs, but a number of government entities, the city and county, as well."
Supporters of the measures from Colorado Tax Reforms have referred questions to the group's website, http://www.cotaxreforms.com.
Debbie Schum, the Western Slope campaign coordinator for the group proposing the ballot initiatives, said in an e-mail that Proposition 101 shouldn't be tied to school funding because the School Finance Act and Amendment 23 require the state to provide for such funding. She said schools won't lose any money from the ballot issues.
School Board members will consider a resolution from Coloradans for Responsible Reform, a group opposing the ballot measures. The Colorado Association of School Boards, an advocacy group for the state's school boards, also has drafted a resolution opposing the measures.
Crossan said the School Board also could discuss that resolution, as well, at tonight's meeting.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Centennial Hall. A public comment portion has been set for 7 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 9 p.m.
Also at Monday's meeting, the School Board will:
■ Introduce Pascal Ginesta, the district's director of maintenance, operations and transportation. The new position replaces the transportation and facilities director positions eliminated by the district as part of the staff reductions for the 2010-11 school.
Ginesta served for 23 years in the U.S. Navy Reserves, serving in a transportation unit, and twice was deployed overseas. During his family's four years in Steamboat, he has worked as a project manager for a local construction company.
Former Facilities Director Rick Denney made $67,092 annually, and former Transportation Director Ed Dingledine made $57,963 a year. Ginesta will be paid $75,000, for a savings of $50,055.
■ Discuss topics for the Aug. 12 and 13 policy governance workshop. Possible topics include curriculum, instruction, staff development and student assessment; an overview of the wellness program, district results/strategic plan and the state's minimum requirements for highly-qualified teachers.
■ Appoint board members to represent the School Board on the District Accountability Committee and the Education Fund Board.
■ Consider approving the superintendent succession plan.