General

Adams 12 Five Star Schools has been working with stakeholders to identify needs and priorities for over two years. After this final effort to collect input from the community from April – July 2024, it is anticipated that the Board of Education will make a decision at an August meeting. Their decision will be informed by all the input collected throughout the Blueprint process, which launched in August 2021.

The Board of Education will likely consider two options – a bond to borrow up to $830 million and a mill levy override to collect an additional $34.5 million in property taxes. The bond will not result in a tax increase; the mill levy override would increase property taxes. For a home valued at $500,000, a property owner would pay an additional ~$20/month. However, your input will ultimately help the Board make the decision regarding a ballot question.

The Board could decide to place both measures on the ballot because they fund different items. The bond (which wouldn't impact taxes) would pay for improvements to buildings and facilities whereas the mill levy override (which would impact taxes) would pay for additional educators and support staff and other educational programming needs the community has identified. Without additional revenue, the district would not be able to address the needs listed in the facilities and programming investment areas and may even be forced to look at cuts in order to balance the budget in 2025. Additionally, the district would continue to struggle to stay competitive in hiring and retaining highly-qualified educators.

There are a number of benefits to investing in public education. Adams 12 Five Star Schools is the largest employer in Adams County with nearly 5,000 full- and part-time teachers, principals, office staff, counselors, nurses, custodians, and more contributing to the economy. Additionally, providing a high-quality education prepares students to contribute to the workforce and their communities. The district offers 25 pathways that help students explore career interests and obtain training and certifications to give them a head start when they leave high school. With a graduation rate of 86.4 percent, the district is exceeding the state average.

Yes, any funding initiative(s) needed to implement Blueprint will include district-authorized charters.

Bond

A bond is a type of loan. A financial institution sells a bond and lends funds to the district for one-time capital / construction projects. The district pays off the bond, and interest, over a specific period of time – typically 20 to 30 years. It’s similar to a homeowner borrowing against a mortgage to fund renovation projects.

Voters approved a $350 million bond package in November 2016 to fund the construction of new schools, provide new educational opportunities and make critical repairs and upgrades to existing schools and facilities. This was the first time since 2004 that voters passed a capital funding measure, which led to the successful completion of over 50 major construction projects throughout the district in five years. In July of 2023 the district paid off additional principal from this bond early — saving taxpayers over $38 million in interest payments.

Mill Levy Override

A mill levy override is an increase of the previous voter-approved tax rate (mill levy). Due to the Taxpayers Bill Of Rights (TABOR), taxing districts in Colorado are required to ask voters about any increases that affect property taxes. Funding from property taxes can be used for teacher salaries, academic programming, classroom supplies, and more.

Among some of the largest metro area school districts, the Five Star District ranks 13th in mill levy override dollars per pupil. This includes:

  1. Englewood
  2. Boulder
  3. Denver
  4. Littleton
  5. Sheridan
  6. Westminster
  7. Cherry Creek
  8. Aurora
  9. Mapleton
  10. St. Vrain
  11. Douglas County
  12. Jefferson County