Mill levy equalization: Three words that could dramatically shift Colorado’s school funding system
Not all school districts collect property taxes equally, which has been robbing some Colorado students of fair funding in education, according to advocates who hope to see lawmakers overhaul the state’s school finance system this legislative session.
A key component of the overhaul would be establishing a uniform mill levy for schools. This would shift most of the responsibility for funding schools back to property taxpayers in districts and, in time, would free up about $453 million annually in the state budget, some of which was going to fund districts capable of funding themselves.
While the state currently backfills significant amounts of money for more well-off districts, legislation to be introduced this session would redistribute that money so that districts with much higher needs would receive more state support.
Advocates, including Leslie Colwell, vice president of K-12 education initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, say the legislation, which has not yet been presented in the statehouse, would benefit all 178 Colorado school districts.
“If we could establish a uniform property tax rate to support local public education in Colorado, it would create a more fair system,” Colwell said. “It would mean more equitable distribution of resources for kids, and it would raise a significant amount of revenue to address that adequacy piece.”
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