Uniform Mill Levy

  • A Special Delegate Assembly is scheduled for Thursday, February 28, as part of the 2019 CASB Winter Legislative Conference. Its focus will be the topic of re-establishing a uniform statewide school finance mill levy, a proposal that is complex and has significant implications to the CASB membership. While the proposal has not yet been released, this page is dedicated to providing membership the tools and resources to help explain what is being proposed and why. 

    Why is CASB holding a Special Delegate Assembly on February 28?

    • The Delegate Assembly is the foundation of CASB’s governance structure and provides critical direction to CASB when it represents members’ interests before state policymakers.

    • CASB is being proactive in having its membership discuss and provide guidance to CASB on a proposal that would be “one of the most significant pieces of education legislation in Colorado in years.” (Colorado Sun)

    • This concept is complex and has a significant impact on our membership.

    • Having a resolution adopted by CASB membership will give CASB significant leverage in shaping this legislation.

    Does CASB support the statewide uniform school mill levy proposals being discussed?

    • The purpose of a Special Delegate Assembly is to allow delegates to discuss the statewide uniform mill levy topic and take a vote on CASB’s position. The outcome of the vote will provide CASB staff with direction.

    What questions should boards be discussing as they prepare for the Special Delegate Assembly?

    • What should the state's obligation be toward school funding?

    • Should all taxpayers pay the same tax rate (school mill levy) for their local schools?

    • If all taxpayers are asked to pay the same rate, what is the appropriate “uniform” mill levy?

      • Should it be revenue neutral at 22.6 mills?

      • Current estimates indicate that full implementation at 27.0 mills would generate an additional $450 million in FY 2019-20 (accounting for assessed value projections and a reduced residential assessment rate).

      • Based on a recent legislative analysis, a mill rate at approximately 30 mills would eliminate the budget stabilization factor.

    • Having a resolution adopted by CASB membership will give CASB significant leverage in shaping this legislation. Are there other key points to be added to a resolution?

    It’s important to remember that all money raised through property taxes stays local. If the district’s school mill levy goes up, that means the district will raise more revenue through property taxes that will go toward funding its local schools. If a district’s school mill levy goes down, it means the state share will need to increase in order to make up for the decrease in local revenue raised.

    This Q&A page provides additional information on:

    • What are the benefits of adopting a uniform school mill levy rate?

    • What are the challenges/downside of adopting a uniform school mill levy rate?

    • Why is the legislature considering a move to a statewide uniform mill levy?

    • Will this solve school funding issues in Colorado?

    The following timeline provides an overview of school finance laws and the effects of various constitutional tax policies put into place over the past four decades. The resources in the right menu provide background content through news articles, legislative summaries and other briefing/historical documents. We will continue to add content to this page as the bill details emerge.


School Finance Timeline

    This description provides an overview of the interplay between the local and state contributions, and how mill levies serve as the vehicle for collecting the local share of school funding. Several challenges are explained, as well as relevant history. 

    We do not yet have a draft of a proposed bill to return Colorado to a uniform statewide school mill. However, we know enough to develop some policy benchmarks against which this legislation must be weighed:

    1. Will every state General Fund dollar replaced by local tax revenues be reinvested in school finance and our public schools?

    2. Will school districts which do not have the ability to reach the required mill levy be protected and held harmless?

    3. Will the window of time afforded to school districts to meet the new required mill levy be reasonable?

    4. Will the pathways made available to school districts to reach the required mill levy be fair and reasonable to local taxpayers and school districts?

    5. Will the new school finance funding and the new uniform mill levy be sustainable and stable in the future?

    All children deserve equal access to an education allowing them to reach their potential. The proposal to re-establish a uniform school finance mill levy to recalibrate and rebalance the contributions between local and state support toward our public schools is, like the educational funding system it aims to fix, necessarily complex.

    Share your questions with us and we will continue to update you as information develops.

    * Content, including benchmarks, will be updated based on input from membership and new information that becomes available.