Brighton, Thornton voters consider tax override for school district

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Voters in Brighton’s school district will decide if the District 27J school district will get to keep an estimated $12 million in property tax collections going forward.

The school district, which manages Brighton High School, Prairie View High School, Riverdale Ridge High school and 16 elementary, middle and charter schools, would use the increased property tax collections to pay for technology and digital resources, textbooks, new staff and better salaries for current teachers. It would also let the district devote $2.4 million of the revenue for charter schools.

“Currently, 27J has the lowest per pupil funding and lowest beginning and average teacher salaries of all fifteen Denver-metro area school districts,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Fiedler said in a written statement. “We struggle to stay competitive with neighboring districts while the gap continues to widen every year. In spite of these challenges, we are committed to

providing an outstanding educational experience for our students.”

Overrides allows the district to keep revenues that increase year-to-year because of increased investment or property values. If voters do not approve, the district’s budget will remain what it was originally and the property taxes will have to rebated to residents by reducing the property tax rate in coming years.

The district has an estimated student population of 17,000 in all of Brighton, parts of Thornton, Henderson and Commerce City and parts of unincorporated Adams County. It’s the 16th largest school district in the state and second largest in Adams County.

Voters approved a $248 million bond issue in 2015 to build three new schools and to pay for renovations and maintenance at existing buildings.

District voters have not approved a mill levy override since 2001.

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