CASTLE ROCK – The Douglas County School Board moved unanimously on Tuesday to pass a resolution opposing Amendment 66, the ballot initiative that funds controversial school funding reforms passed earlier this year by the state legislature.
The board weighed the potential impacts of the massive tax increase on a stagnant economy as a key concern. Moreover, they said the bill’s funding mechanism is overly complicated, and falls far short of the reforms the Board would like to see at the state level.
“Why would I reject $50 million for education from the state? Because Douglas County taxpayers have to pay $100 million to get that funding,” said Board Member Kevin Larsen (Highlands Ranch, District C).
According to the Resolution text, Amendment 66 would “disproportionately increase the burden to Douglas County taxpayers, due to new rates that would result in an income tax increase between 8% and 27%, and on average 16% in Douglas County…”
If successful, the Board believes it may be harder to address brick-and-mortar projects that may require local taxes in the future.
The Resolution cited the massive revenue increase as a “threat to future local endeavors to address capital needs.”
District E incumbent Doug Benevento (Highlands Ranch) criticized the funding mechanism that he says favors “preferred political boundaries.”
“It’s obscene that you can have two [at-risk] kids living across county lines receiving different funding levels,” said Benevento.
Critics have argued that SB 213, which was unilaterally passed by Senate and House Democrats at the state Capitol earlier this year, is nothing but an unfair redistribution of funding to liberal strongholds.
“We think the money should follow the students,” noted Justin Williams (Parker District F).
“I think the proposal will fail as people realize it will do more damage to education than help it,” said Benevento.