COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A proposed mill levy increase in School District 11 failed by fewer than 1,000 votes at the polls last fall, but Colorado Springs' largest district will try again in November.
D-11 is asking its voters to approve the proposal, which would generate $42 million for needed school improvements.
The last successful mill levy question was in 2000.
"A lot has changed then," said Anthony Carlson, spokesman for the support organization Friends of D11. "Facebook and iPhones didn't exist yet. The average school in this district is 50 years old. Buildings are crumbling. Wires and plumbing need to be replaced. The students don't have enough counselors and nurses. We need to pay teachers more to keep from losing them."
D-11 is the city's largest district -- with 25,000 students -- and is also one of its less affluent, and voters in November already will consider whether to bring back a fee to pay for stormwater projects across the city.
Carlson said the mill levy override would cost the average homeowner around $14 annually for every $200,000 of a home's assessed value.
"But the plan is structured so that D-11 will also pay down its debt and gradually reduce the tax paid by voters," Carlson said. "In a few years, homeowners will pay only $6 a year."
Carlson said a bond-issue proposal also failed at the polls last year, and feedback after Election Day revealed that voters were more open to a mill-levy override as an option.
Tami Sansbury has three kids attending D-11 schools.
"I went to school here and I have friends here," she said. "Anyone who wants to help the schools should be for this. I know that my family will vote for it."
According to the plan, every D-11 school would receive some form of upgrade.