Hayden School District puts mill levy on ballot
Steamboat Springs — The Hayden School District is in a financial bind and will be 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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