School Districts Prepare For Passage Of Amendment 61

Amendment Would Eliminate Interest-Free Loans By State

The Douglas County Board of Education doesn't appear to be taking any chances when it comes to the possibility of running out of money.

The problem looming for many districts throughout the state is Amendment 61. If the ballot issue passes in November, it would eliminate zero-interest loans provided by the state to school districts.

Many districts utilize these loans to pay staff and teachers throughout the year because funding from property taxes only comes in about twice a year.

So, on Tuesday night the Douglas County school board came up with a plan.

The board approved issuing Certificates of Participation or COPs.

That means the district could borrow against buildings it owns and use them as collateral if Amendment 61 were to pass this November.

Many other districts in the state are preparing for how they will deal with the same issue.

Douglas County has said if Amendment 61 passes and the district did nothing, in the worst case scenario the district would be forced to shut down schools by Thanksgiving and possibly not reopen until Easter, when cash flow from property taxes would be infused into the districts accounts.

Other districts have said they might be forced to shut down as early as two days after the election because of a lack of cash on hand to continue operating.

Supporters of Amendment 61 say it reduces wasteful spending by the state.

Several high-profile state lawmakers have announced their opposition to the amendment, including both Republican minority leaders in the state House and Senate and both Democratic majority leaders in the House and Senate.