- Overland Trail Middle School
Community group advises on funding
Community brings new perspectives to funding decisions
The community’s priorities matter to 27J Schools. So this summer, we're bringing the community in to review, study, examine and make recommendations to the board of education about what to do with taxpayer funds for educating students.
To do that, a community advisory group made up of citizens from Brighton, Commerce City and Thornton, has been studying 27J Schools’ finances and how schools are funded.
The advisory group is looking ‘behind the curtain’ to learn more about how 27J is funded, and how tax dollars are used to educate the leaders of tomorrow. Advisory members have been given detailed information on school spending, teacher salaries, and district expenses. The make a recommendation to the Board of Education about how it thinks the district should address what it believes is a significant funding shortfall.
The group believes the district has worked well with the community to manage growth using bond issues to build new schools and renovate others to accommodate growing numbers of students. However, the group sees a different situation in how the district provides resources for programs and staff to run those programs and new schools. It’s found a significant gap in revenue and providing adequately developed programs for student learning. One option most other districts use is what’s called a mill levy override (MLO).
Unlike a bond issue which pays for buildings and construction, only an MLO can provide local districts extra dollars beyond the state’s bare minimum funding to pay for programs and people. Based on the group’s examination of district finances, it believes the most significant problem is not having enough money to attract and retain high-quality teachers and support staff for 27J students. An MLO can fix this. Voters in surrounding school districts have approved MLO’s several times in recent years. However, 27J has not approved MLO funding since 1999.
The people evaluating district finances represent you and your community. In August, the advisory group will give 27J leaders strategic insights into funding priorities and how to handle budget shortfalls. The superintendent and board of education will use the advisory group’s recommendations in making final decisions on how to produce the education results the community wants while utilizing options available to keep its promise to the community to provide 27J students the best education to ensure they’re successful.