Dear St. Vrain Valley Community,
St. Vrain Valley Schools has always been deeply appreciative of the ongoing support of our community. Much of our success over the past decade has been due in large part to the continued investments our voters have made into advancing public education through bonds and mill levy overrides. Accordingly, in a time when many districts are struggling, St. Vrain Valley Schools has one of the strongest financial positions in Colorado.
Funding for public education has been a long-time focus at the state legislature with many changes and challenges over the years. Most recently, during the 2021 legislative session, Colorado Lawmakers passed HB21-1164, Total Program Mill Levy Tax Credit (http://stvra.in/hb211164), which is designed to correct an error that began approximately 20 years ago when the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) incorrectly instructed some school districts around the state to reduce their Total Program Mill Levy rate under TABOR, even though voters in those districts had previously approved a TABOR exemption. St. Vrain Valley Schools is one of the 127 districts in Colorado that will be impacted by the implementation of the requirements under the new HB21-1164 legislation.
Below is additional information about the history and impact of this new state statute and what it means for property owners in our community. We feel it is important to provide you with this information, and also to communicate that St. Vrain Valley Schools was not in support of this bill, and in fact, strongly expressed our concerns to legislators.
History and Impact on Property Owners
In 1998, our community approved a ballot measure that exempted St. Vrain Valley Schools from the TABOR requirement to reduce Mill Levy rates as property values increased. At the time, the Total Program Mill Levy for the district was 35.552 mills. However, due to a Colorado Department of Education error, the district was instructed to reduce its Total Program Mill Levy rate until it was frozen in 2007 at 24.995 mills. Under the new HB21-1164 legislation, the district is required to now increase our Total Program Mill Levy rate by one mill every year until we reach 27.000 mills. For additional history regarding this legislation, please visit http://stvra.in/21006.
The required Total Program Milly Levy increase will have an impact on property owners in our community. In the first year of implementation, homes with a value of $500,000 will see an estimated increase to their property taxes of $2.98 per month or $35.76 per year. In year two, homes with a value of $500,000 will see an estimated total increase to their property taxes of $5.96 per month or $71.50 per year. After year three, which represents full implementation of the increases, homes with a value of $500,000 will see an estimated increase to their property taxes of $5.97 per month or $71.68 per year.
Impact on St. Vrain Valley Schools
A key reason that our district lobbied against this bill is that our community has always been very supportive regarding investments in our schools. This legislation is a requirement that is being imposed on St. Vrain taxpayers by the Colorado Department of Education and the State Legislature. Neither the district nor our Board of Education have any discretion on whether to implement this change, and could be subject to a large penalty if we did not comply with this state law.
The increase in our Total Program Mill Levy rate from 24.995 to 27.000 mills will generate an estimated additional $4.1 million in 2022 and $8.2 million annually thereafter. These funds will reduce the state’s obligation to fund their share of K-12 education statewide, however at this time, it has not been determined how much this will increase funding for St. Vrain Valley Schools.
Below are several important resources regarding school funding and the HB21-1164 legislation:
- Video: School Finance 101 (http://stvra.in/schoolfinance101)
- Video: Local Dollars for Local Schools (http://stvra.in/localdollars)
- HB21-1164, Total Program Mill Levy Tax Credit (http://stvra.in/hb211164)
- CDE Mill Levy Correction (http://stvra.in/cdecorrection)
Again, thank you for your continued support of our schools, and partnership in advancing the success of our students. We will continue to share information regarding this change as we receive new details from the Colorado Department of Education and/or the State Legislature. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our finance department at 303-682-7203.
St. Vrain Valley Schools
Board of Education
- Joie Siegrist, President
- Paula Peairs, Vice President
- John Ahrens, Secretary
- Karen Ragland, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer
- Jim Berthold, Member
- Chico Garcia, Member
- Dr. Richard Martyr, Member