Colorado Springs, Colo. - One of those 12 victories was in school District 11 where a mill levy tax will now go towards much needed improvements for an aging system. KRDO News Channel 13's Cinthia Maldonado asked the Friends of D-11 how the $42 million dollars will be used.
School District 11 is the largest and most diverse in Colorado Springs but the reality is its 50 plus schools are falling apart. Lauren Hug, the campaign strategist at Friends of D-11 says some of the schools need repairs. "The average age of a building in the district is 50 years old," explains Hug.
Most buildings are in need of basic maintenance, running on old heaters, with students working under cracking ceilings and walls. But that's not the only problem; the district also faces teacher shortages with many leaving for other systems.
Anthony Carlson, the campaign manager knows D-11’s teachers don’t get paid well, "Right now District 11 is below market value for teacher pay."
But years of bad luck are about to change for the district thanks to the passage of ballot measure E-3. In it, voters agreed to a mill levy tax to generate school funding. "We won with 57% of the vote which is a mandate saying that Colorado Springs does incredibly [does] care about our schools and kids," says Carlson.
Last time the community approved a mill levy was 17 years ago. Now, campuses across Colorado Springs are waiting for improvements, decades in the making.
"A big portion of the funds go towards our teachers’ salaries, so this will allow the district to compete for those teachers. Meaning that our kids will have great access to good teachers will go to increase our teachers’ salaries, receiving a lot of maintenance upgrades."
One of the schools that will benefit from the Mill Levy is North Junior High School. It’s one of the schools in the district that needs a school resource officer (SRO).
Christopher Kilroy, the principal at North Junior High School says safety has always been one of his priorities. "The idea of an SRO, I think going to be really important for the safety of the school. The retainment of quality of staff is the best thing for them and also reasonable class sizes is also something that will support their learning."
Parents also agree this ballot measure will make an impact in students' futures. "If we don't invest in our kids then we are not going to have much of a future. So I think that the ultimate goal is to do the best we can for them because they're going to be taking us forward."
D-11 created a school by school plan that shows the needs of 50 plus schools and will start making changes as early as January 2018.
Ballot measure 3-E was approved by 57 percent of voters.