Colorado setting record for school bond, levy measures on ballots

DENVER -- There are a whole lot of "3s'" on this year's Colorado ballot.

Whether it's 3A in Denver, 3B in Jefferson County or 3D in Adams 12, a record number of school measures are on the ballot this year. School ballot questions are typically classified with the number three.

Sixty-two school districts are asking voters to approve money -- with $5 billion at stake.

"School districts have faced six years of unprecedented budget cuts and reductions," said Tracie Rainey, executive director of the Colorado School Finance Project.

Some of the biggest school ballot questions involve several school districts:

  • Denver: $572 million
  • Jefferson County: $535 million
  • Adams 12: $350 million
  • Adams Arapahoe: $300 million
  • Cherry Creek: $250 million

One of the biggest questions voters will have is understanding the difference between a mill levy and a bond issue.

Bond

"Bonds are dollars that go toward building facilities and upgrading facilities," Rainey said.

Levy

"It's going for operational. It's going to programs, textbooks, curriculum," Rainey said.

While no major opposition campaigns exist regarding the ballot issues, Rainey said they do typically fail 50 percent of the time.

The average increase cost on taxpayers, Rainey said is about $100 per house per year, although it is important to note not every bond and levy question increases taxes.