Election Guide 2016: Referendum 3D — Hayden seeks money for school buses
Shall the Hayden School District No. RE-1 taxes be increased $127,423.44 in the 2016-2017 budget year and by whatever amounts may be generated in each of the three budget years thereafter, ending after the 2019-2020 budget year, by the imposition of a property tax mill levy not to exceed 1.25 mills for deposit in the district's general fund for restoring the district's transportation fleet to improve safety and enhance reliability by replacing existing school buses and other essential district vehicles; with the expenditure of such taxes to be reviewed by the district accountability committee and be subject to an annual independent audit to be published on the district's website; and with such taxes to be in excess of property tax revenues that would be provided by the general fund mill levy permitted under state law without such increase and, together with revenues from specific ownership taxes attributable thereto and the earnings on such taxes and revenues, to constitute a voter approved revenue and spending change under, to be collected and spent each year without limitation by the revenue and spending limits of, and without affecting the district's ability to collect and spend other revenues or funds under, Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?
Steamboat Springs — The Hayden School District is in a financial bind and is asking voters to pay additional taxes so the district can buy new buses.
Hayden has a six-bus fleet and two of them already have more than 200,000 miles on them. In four years, they are all expected to have in excess of 200,000 miles.
Hayden Superintendent Phil Kaspar said the district last year lost $500,000 in funding and has not been unable to stash away cash to replace the aging fleet.
“We weren’t able to do that last budget cycle,” Kaspar said.
On Sept. 6, the Hayden School Board unanimously decided it was time to ask voters to help buy the buses.
“It’s a tough one going through a mill levy, but I firmly feel the challenges we have financially are so great that we have to turn to the community to have them help solve this,” school board member Tammie Delaney said.
The district is asking for an additional 1 1/4 mills. That is about $12.50 for every $100,000 of assessed property value.
The tax is temporary and would go away after four years.
The district anticipates raising about $500,000 over the four-year period that could only be spent on transportation. Kaspar said the financials would be audited each year, so the public can be reassured the money is being spent appropriately.
“We don’t really have a plan B to address the transportation needs if this is not successful,” Kaspar said.
The district wants to buy two larger buses that each cost $107,000. Two smaller buses would be purchased for $85,000. In addition, the district would buy two Suburban-like vehicles.
Kaspar said school districts are not required to provide transportation to get students to and from school, but district leaders think it is important, especially because of the dangerous driving conditions during the winter.
Kaspar was unaware of any school district in Colorado that does not provide transportation for its students.
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