What is District 11’s Mill Levy Override?

Christopher Schell School Funding

It’s back-to-school season! Over the past couple weeks our kids have been walking through the doors of our District 11 schools ready to take on new challenges, gain new experiences, and take their next steps to preparing for their future. What better time to start talking about our schools and how we can ensure quality educations for our kids?

A quality education requires great teachers.

School District 11 is the home of some of the best teachers in our State. The Colorado Teacher of the Year and the Colorado History Teacher of the Year teach in District 11 classrooms. With the assistance of the guidance counselors at our four high schools, our kids receive over $25 million annually in scholarship opportunities. And, right here in Colorado Springs, Trailblazer Elementary is a national leader in classroom innovation.  Every month teachers from around the country come to Trailblazer to learn today’s best practices in education.

With all the incredible work taking place in the District you might be surprised to learn that District 11 faces many challenges. The Colorado teacher shortage has been heavily covered in the news this year. Statewide, there is currently a shortage of over 3,000 teachers. There is stiff competition for great teachers like our Teachers of the Year. We need to keep our great teachers right here in Colorado Springs. To do that, we need to make sure our schools can offer a competitive wage to our best teachers.

How can we make sure great teachers stay in District 11?

Due to a number of issues, including TABOR and something that’s called the Negative Factor, Colorado is in the bottom quarter of our country when it comes to per student education funding. Over the years the responsibility of funding schools has fallen on local cities rather than our State budget.

The common instrument for securing local funding for our schools is what is called a “mill levy”.  A mill levy is a type of funding drawn from property taxes that allow schools to provide a more competitive wage for teachers, enhance classroom technology, and to responsibly maintain and renovate our schools. However, this type of funding must be approved by voters for our schools.

During an election year, school districts sometimes ask voters to approve better funding. That’s just what District 11 is asking voters to do on November 7th. The last time voters approved this type of funding for the District was the year 2000. A generation of kids have gone through our schools, Kindergarten through High School, without better funding to help prepare them for today’s world. Better funding will allow our schools to provide salaries for our great teachers that are competitive with other Districts around the state.

Our community and our kids deserve great schools and the best teachers. Join the Friends of D11, and let’s make sure we have the schools our community deserve.