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Greeley/Evans seek voters' help to fund schools

Posted: 5:58 PM, Apr 06, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-06 22:53:35-04

The Greeley/Evans School District plans to ask for something they’ve never had -- more money through property taxes.

On Wednesday, the administrators met with parents and community members at Martinez Elementary school for several community meetings to get feedback regarding whether to put a mill levy up for a vote this November.

“The needs have gone as high as $25 million a year that we’re no longer getting from the state of Colorado,” said Dierdre Pilch, Superintendent for the district.

Pilch said the district so far has done well despite being one of only two of the large districts in the state to not have a mil levy. “Our kids are excelling,” she said.

However, she said they could do more, with more things like computers, faster broadband speeds and more updated textbooks. Some of Things their current budget can’t afford.

“Our students deserve to have more here,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the district asks the community for money through a property tax.

A similar proposal failed among voters in 2009. 

Pilch thinks this year is different and their odds will be better among voters.

“It’s a much different climate now than what we had in 2009 where folks felt like too much was being spent on education,” she said.

A Citizen’s Advisory Committee began working on the issue earlier this month.

The group, which includes parents such as Kenneth Watts, will get input from the community and provide feedback for members of the School Board, who will decide on whether to put the mill levy up for a public vote.

“When I see the budget that the state gives us to operate on it’s almost criminal,” he said, “We definitely need this.”

According to a survey conducted by the district, around 51 percent of voters said “too little” is spent on education.

Pilch thinks a mill levy will put the district at a better advantage, helping them provide staff with a more competitive salary compared to other districts.

With their current budget, Pilch has had to eliminate 11 administrative positions for next year.

She hopes voters will have the chance to decide on whether they want to help prevent more cuts and provide more opportunities for students. 

“This is our community and this will be an investment in our children,” she said.  

The district will hold two more in-person forums:

  • Wednesday, April 13, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Evans Community Center, 1100 37th St., Evans (Spanish interpreters will be available)
  • Tuesday, April 19, from 6-7:30 p.m. at Farr Regional Library, 1939 61st Ave., Greeley (Spanish interpreters will be available)

They plan to hold a telephone town hall on Sunday, April 10 from 5-6 p.m.

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