School districts seeking tax increases face the challenge of persuading voters whose incomes have taken a harder hit in recent years. Senior education policy analyst Ben DeGrow’s colorful, two-page issue backgrounder “Colorado K-12 Tax Hikes Challenged” shows four of the five largest school districts with mill levy and/or bond issues on the ballot increased per-student tax revenues from 2005-06 to 2010-11. All five agencies have fared significantly better than household incomes in the counties they cover.
Over the five most recent years measured, the median Denver household’s earnings dropped 4.4% while per-student tax revenues in DPS grew 2.6%. School budgets grew in Aurora (3.5%) and Cherry Creek (1.4%), while incomes for Arapahoe and Adams County residents fell 5.4% and 6.5%, respectively. Per-student tax revenues range from about $8,500 to $11,000 in the five districts.
Which raises the question: Should we keep shoveling money to school teachers, the unions, administration, etc at the expense of Colorado families?