Re-2 mails out mill-levy survey
Post Independent Staff
Garfield School District leaders are asking for your opinion ” that is, if you’re a registered voter and you live within the boundaries of the district.
District officials want to know why their $4 million-a-year mill levy override question on the November 2003 ballot failed. So last week, district officials mailed a four-page survey to 4,642 households within the district, which extends from New Castle to Rifle.
The survey describes the district’s current capital improvements, and explains the need for more money to operate the new Coal Ridge High School, increase staff salaries, introduce full-day, all-day kindergarten, introduce school resource officers at the middle and high school level, offer before- and after-school activities, and pay for technology and transportation equipment.
The survey includes 19 questions, including how much of a property tax increase voters would be willing to support if the mill levy was presented again, and who should pay for before- and after-school programs.
In 2001, Garfield School District Re-2 voters passed a $39 million bond referendum by 62 percent. That bond paid for the construction of two new school buildings and a range of building improvements at existing schools.
Voters were asked again in November 2003 to boost their property taxes ” this time, to fund the yearly $4 million mill levy override for school operations ” but the question was defeated 56-44 percent.
In November, Re-2 superintendent Gary Pack said he was prepared to bring the question to the voters again.
“The mill levy isn’t going to go away,” said Pack. “In 2001, the public said they wanted to improve education. They voted to build new schools. We can’t pull money out of the air to operate.”
But before putting the question on the November 2004 ballot, Re-2 administrators and board members want to hear from voters.
“We really want people to sit down and take the time to complete the survey,” said Re-2 school board president Vicki VanEngelenburg. “It’s important that we get feedback from the public.”
VanEngelenburg said as of Monday, quite a few of the surveys had come in to the district office in Rifle.
Theresa Hamilton, Re-2’s director of districtwide services, said survey results will be tabulated and presented to the school board for review. Results will also be available to the public on request.
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