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The city of Commerce City announced a cut in its own taxes in the hopes city voters will approve an upcoming mill levy override proposal in 27J Schools.
The district is asking for a tax increase …
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The district is asking for a tax increase of eight mills. The cost, according to a release, is less than $1 a day on a $500,000 home. If approved, money goes to local schools.
The district hasn’t passed a mill levy override in more than 20 years.
“They are the lowest per-pupil funded school district in the area," Commerce City Mayor Benjamin Huseman said in a statement. "They need more money to continue to provide a quality education for the children in this community."
The statement said the district's low funding situation means the district operates on about 80 percent of the budget that all other districts have. If approved, the increase would improve student safety by putting a safety officer at every school, pay teachers more so the district can hire and keep the best, and add more STEM/Career and tech ed teachers to high schools giving students job-ready skills.
If the proposal doesn't pass, the statement said the district would have to make cuts to high-school and middle-school sports, school bus service and to extracurricular activities. There would also be an increase in class sizes.
The statement said Huseman told council it needs to do more than simply say it supports 5B, and he believes the council should support the schools with real action.
"If we, as a board, can offset those eight mills and cut [the tax rate increase] down to maybe three mills, or maybe 2 mills, then we have done our part," he said. “By actually taking action, we can go out and tell the residents of this community that are affected by this mill levy, we are doing our part to offset that mill levy so you're not having to shoulder that cost all yourself.”
The statement said this is the first time 27J Superintendent Chris Fiedler has seen a city council take such action with such a sacrifice for students.
"The city council in Commerce City has really made a huge statement with its decision to reduce its own taxes so that neighborhood schools may be funded in a way they so desperately need," Fiedler said.
The deadline for ballots to be dropped off is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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