Please Vote Yes on 5A and 5B
The $60 million MLO will help DCSD pay teachers, bus drivers and other staff more competitively. Right now, the average DCSD teacher salary is $18,000 lower than neighboring districts like Cherry Creek. Yet Douglas County is one of the most expensive areas to live in Colorado. We want the employees of our largest employer, the school district, to work, live, and thrive here.<
The $450 million bond will enable us to build three new elementary schools in high growth areas including Sterling Ranch, Crystal Calley and The Canyons. In addition, we will be able to expand two middle schools, Sierra Middle School and Mesa Middle School, to reduce overcrowding. The bond is also the source of ongoing capital maintenance prpojects. The District’s 111 buildings (of which 89 are schools) currently cost $30-35 million per year to maintain. The bond will allow security updatese, technology refreshes and other improvements to keep our school environments well-maintained and secure.
Want to learn more? Browse our overview below. More detailed information can be found on the District website, including a salary schedule detailing what licensed staff can expect to earn if the MLO passes and a detailed bond project list for each school.
5A (Mill Levy Override) is a fixed dollar amount ($60 million). That means that you won’t pay more money to the school district when your home value increases. In fact, as more businesses and homes are built, your mill levy rate will decline over time.
DCSD Educational Assistants make $13.62 an hour. Chick Fil A starts their employees at $19.00 an hour. Douglas County School District is the largest employer in the county. Obviously, employers reward employees when they perform well.
When neighboring districts pay 20% or more than our district does, they're trying to attract the best and brightest away from other districts. When our teachers earn an average of $58,000 a year and homeowner costs exceed $51,000, relocating becomes pretty tempting.
Because of the way Colorado school finance works, local funding - an MLO - is the only way to finance competitive staff salaries.
$60 million is the total cost for salary increases for every DCSD employee (not just teachers); benefits; and a proportionate share for DCSD-authorized charter schools.
DCSD is the county's largest employer, with 8,600 employees. Each employee will receive a pay increase.
Benefits have to be funded as well
The total cost of an employee includes benefits. The district contributes to the state retirement program, PERA (Public Education Retirement Association). PERA is a statewide retirement program for public education employees in lieu of social security.
DCSD budgets 21% of salaries for PERA. (Each employee also contributes about 11% of their salaries.)
DCSD-authorized charter schools share in MLO funds
DCSD charter schools will also use MLO funds for salary and benefit increases.
From the DCSD website
In total, $44.5M of the Mill Levy Override will be used for district salary and benefits increases. The other $15.5M will be shared with Douglas County School District-authorized charter schools for compensation and benefits increases at those schools.
Of the $44.5M district-share, $31.2M will go toward teacher salary increases and the associated PERA costs and $13.2M will go to support and other staff (salaries and PERA).
Bonds enable new construction, expansion of existing schools and modernization
The District has not built a new school since 2010, yet more than 70,000 people have moved into the area since then.
DCSD is 2/3 the size of Rhode Island. In some areas, student enrollment is declining as residents age in place. However, in other areas like Sterling Ranch, The Canyons and Crystal Valley, growth is intense.
The fiscally prudent approach is to build need new elementary neighborhood schools for the high growth areas; expand middle schools without building new structures; and address expected overall District changes via an ongoing three-to-five year strategic plan.
See the detailed bond plan, itemizing each project.
The community support from local civic, education, philanthropic and business leadership has been phenomenal. From local town, city and metro district directors to Board of Education advisory committees to community organizations, leaders are coming together across the political spectrum to support local funding for local schools.
Students will benefit from our ability to retain great teachers and attract new ones with competitive compensation. New schools and expanding existing buildings will help us reduce overcrowding. Updating security will help ensure student safety. Our schools will benefit from the resources to provide ongoing, proactive maintenance.
Our community will benefit from well-educated students who. like many current Douglas County residents, may return someday to open their own businesses and to teach in our schools.
In addition, the construction projects will provide a signficant benefit to our local economy. According to an economic impact study prepared by a neutral third party, Impact Data Source of Austin, Texas: the business impact of the bond alone will be demonstrably positive throughout the local community. It will create jobs, provide revenue to local business, and add to our tax base.