By Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver
(Castle Rock, CO) While the Douglas County school board members have been embroiled in conflict since the beginning of the year, they've put aside their differences in the greater interest of securing a solid financial future for the district's teachers and staff and the children they serve.
The board members, along with DougCo superintendent Erin Kane, are spending the final days before the board votes on whether to add a mill levy override (MLO) and bond to the November ballot showing their commitment to passing the initiative.
Kane said, "all seven of the board directors have publicly shown support for funding our district and our students and our staff. And it's been really inspiring for me to just watched everybody come together and to watch our community come together, because everyone wants what's best for our kids."
Trusting where the money will go
Kane said, "We have committed to exactly what this tax increase would mean for our teachers and staff in terms of what it would do to their paycheck. So everyone in our system knows what their raise will be if the MLO passes."
The board is standing behind Kane's recommendations. Director Kaylee Winegar said the board would pass a resolution validating Kane's proposed salary schedule.
Kane said if the MLO and bond are approved, the board is legally-bound to the language on the ballot, which is why they are working on making it as specific as possible. Kane encourages everyone to look at the language and offer input before the boarding meeting on August 23.
Winegar also mentioned the Mill Bond Oversight Committee (MBOC) is a diverse group of community members who oversee spending. She said, "MBOC really dug into how the 2018 MLO and bond was spent and the lessons they learned from it.
"They gave a lot of input on the language around this year's MLO and bond. I want to continue that and get more community oversight and more community input and feedback on what they think is going on."
Director Becky Myers said, "I'm going to trust that these people (MBOC) know how to get our money out there. I have just seen such excitement. And especially at the last board meeting, just the dedication to our kids and getting our academic excellence up there."
What's not in the news
Kane said she'd like to see more discussion in the media around the tax impact of a $60 million MLO and $450 million bond.
"I've seen a lot out there about why we're looking at a bond and MLO and of our lack of ability to compete and our need for new schools and to maintain the buildings we have. But there isn't a lot out there about the actual tax impact."
Kane said, "taxpayers can expect to owe only $1 per week per $100,000 in home value. And our bond initiative would have no impact the current mills that are paying."
Also, the tax impact decreases as more residents move to Douglas County. "The number of mills it takes to reach $60 million per year will be lower and lower every year because it's spread over more people," said Kane.
Directors Winegar and Myers believe doing what's best for the district's kids in terms of paying teachers and staff more and providing the best schools for them to learn far outweighs any political infighting or differences of opinion.
Winegar said, "It seems like whenever we're in the media, it's when we're disagreeing, but I would love to see more of the media report how Douglas County is coming together. We can be a very functional board. We want to put our our district first and get past our issues and not focus on our drama, but rather on what's best."