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Why doesn’t enrollment growth provide for new schools in D 49?

With new students pouring into the district and existing schools busting at the seams, the Falcon District 49 Board of Education is considering placing a mill levy override on the November ballot to build new schools. This decision will be finalized by the board of education at their Sept. 2 meeting.So, you might ask, why doesn’t the influx of new students pay for new schools? While the district does get funding for new students, the additional amount falls far short of what is needed to pay for the classrooms, teachers, supplies, and transportation.Nearly all the revenue that District 49 receives is based on the annual Oct. 1 pupil count. State funding for each school district is based on a formula that provides for a base amount per student with certain adjustments, including a cost of living factor, personnel cost factors, size factors and at-risk student factors. As a result of the effect of these factors on the formula, District 49 receives less per student than any of our neighboring districts, and in the most recent school year, D 49 was the 12th lowest funded school district out of the 176 districts in Colorado. The chart (average Colorado district funding…) summarizes the differences between what District 49 has received from the state per student and what the average funded district received over the last six years.

Average Colorado District Funding versus Falcon’s Funding
School YearFalcon’s Funded Pupil CountState Average Funding Per PupilFalcon’s Funding Per PupilLost Revenue to Falcon as Compared to State Average
*EstimatedThe state’s share of K-12 school funding is used by school districts to pay the operational costs of providing education for its students. This includes expenses like teachers, books, utilities, transportation and many more items. As you can see, the formula used by the state to calculate funding has cost the district millions of dollars over the last six years, allowing us far fewer dollars to pay for our students’ educational needs.As new students move into the district, operational costs increase accordingly. Our funding from the state covers a portion of the costs for new teachers, additional textbooks, additional support staff, additional modular classrooms, additional buses, additional coaches, etc., but it covers none of the costs for constructing and equipping new schools. And when students enroll in District 49 after the Oct. 1 pupil count, as so many do in our rapidly growing community, the district receives no funds for those students until the following year.How, then, do new students aid the district? The new students live in homes that produce more assessed value for the district, and the new students indirectly produce more businesses, which once again produce more assessed value. In addition to state funding, the other major revenue source for school districts is property taxes, and the revenue from property taxes increases as the district’s assessed value grows.Property taxes help pay the operating costs not covered by the state, and they pay all of the costs for building new schools and renovating and maintaining existing schools. As District 49’s assessed value increases, the outstanding debt for existing schools is spread out over a larger amount of assessed value, i.e., taxpayer, and the property tax rate is reduced. In fact, the increase in assessed value in District 49 has been sufficient to produce the lowest tax rate in many years, even with the issuance of debt approved by voters during these years. THe table below summarizes District 49’s assessed value growth and tax rate reductions over the past ten years.
Assessment YearAssessed ValueD-49 Total Tax Rate
1994$74,236,80052.930 Mills
1995$90,861,96052.570 Mills
1996$98,518,96059.665 Mills
1997$125,929,08059.197 Mills
1998$136,934,51052.117 Mills
1999$169,213,82053.599 Mills
2000$189,411,75048.842 Mills
2001$240,370,28047.770 Mills
2002$274,881,51047.522 Mills
2003$315,635,43046.424 Mills
2004$359,015,240*Not yet determined
*PreliminaryIn conclusion, new enrollment growth provides new revenues from the state to pay for a portion of the costs of operating our educational system. Families moving into the district produce additional property values (assessed value) which can lessen the existing tax rate or create new opportunities to issue voter-approved debt without large corresponding tax increases. In this way, enrollment growth and the resulting increase in assessed value is good for every taxpayer in the district. However, at some point the new enrollment growth causes District 49 to ask voters for funding to build more schools, it is up to local taxpayers to determine when and if these new schools should be built.For questions or comments, please contact Gene Logas at 495-1109 or e-mail at

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