3B leader pushes for school tax increase | VailDaily.com

3B leader pushes for school tax increase

EAGLE, Colorado – This is the year for schools to ask voters for a tax increase, said the woman who championed the campaign for $120 million to build new schools.

Louise Funk offered to help convince Eagle County voters to approve a tax increase this fall. Funk has helped the school district win two tax questions, including 3B, a $120 million package to build new schools and renovate others.

“This is the year to go forward with this mill levy question,” Funk told the school board Wednesday night. “As a parent who has run two ballot issues for the school district, I just feel in my gut that this is the time.”

The school district says it will cut 40 jobs, including 30 teachers, trying to bridge what it says it a $6.5 million budget gap.

The school district’s total budget is $124,300,332. Its general fund is $55,236,932; that’s the checkbook through which the district conducts its day-to-day business.

“If we don’t go for it this year, we’re looking at more cuts down the road,” Funk said. “We’re looking at increased class sizes, cutting programs, cutting athletics.”

The 3B campaign raised $50,000 and Funk says they’re willing to step up again.

The school board has been weighing a tax increase as part of its ongoing budget discussions.

The school board will determine what, if anything, they’ll do by early summer. They’ll have to have their ballot language approved by August. That mean’s they’ll determine by July whether they’ll ask for a tax increase.

In the meantime, they’ll gather some information and begin to enlist the help of around 30 “community influencers.”

Local residents might be asked to participate in some phone polls and mail surveys.

Eagle County tends to be more engaged with its schools than most places.

In 2006, 22 percent of the mail surveys sent out were returned. The return rate is usually around 8 percent, they were told.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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