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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Community

Community: Itís both the heritage of our past and the bright vision for our future. Community is not only where we live, but itís who we are and who we want to be. Community: Itís young and old — families and neighbors. Community is all of us collectively living together, embracing our similarities and celebrating our differences.The District 49 family of students, parents, educators and support staff are part of the fabric our community. Since 1921 and the construction of our first schoolhouse, on land where our students still learn today, weíve filled an important role in our community.Many things have changed since that first school was built. The way we construct buildings has changed. The way we educate and learn has changed. Weíve grown from a one-room schoolhouse to a large district that is both suburban and rural. We continue to grow.As you may recall, in November 2014, we collectively chose to invest in our future community by passing a no tax increase mill levy override; we chose to invest in hiring and retaining excellent teachers, increasing security at our schools and increasing technology on our campuses.Since that time, weíve continued to work diligently to earn and keep your trust. Iím hopeful that youíve experienced or have heard first-hand about our educational programs designed to meet the needs of each student. Our local media has featured the successes happening across our 22 schools more than 30 times so far this school year!Weíve continued to be strong financial stewards of the community resources we are given to educate our youth. Our backpack budget model has been recognized across the state and across the country as an example for other school districts. The Center for American Progress said weíre one of the top three districts in the state for financial productivity, getting the most educational return for every dollar of taxpayer investment.As an example, in 2015, we refinanced our existing debt, taking advantage of a favorable market to save more than $2.5 million for taxpayers and shorten the term to maturity, effectively paying off our existing debt by the end of 2017.In November 2014, we decided as a community that it was not the right time to increase our property tax burden to make our existing learning spaces bigger and to build new ones, even as we continue to grow. Strong financial stewardship has presented an opportunity to meet the needs we face as a community, without having to raise our property tax rate. We have been working on a proposal, and we need to hear from you.Our proposed plan invests in schools and teachers, without raising taxes. It has four priorities:

  1. Pursue balanced opportunities at our three traditional high schools
  2. Refresh and refurbish all existing facilities
  3. Improve teacher compensation
  4. Build two new elementary schools
Whether itís been awhile since youíve been on one of our communityís campuses, maybe your children have already graduated from one of our communityís schools, or whether you volunteer in one of our communityís classrooms every week with current students, Iíd like to invite you to help us build our future community.Please take a few moments to collaborate as a community. Visit http://D49.org/OurFuture to learn about our proposed no tax increase plan and share your insights and wisdom in a short survey.Weíre striving to be the best district to learn, work and lead in what is the best community to live – and we canít do it without you.

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