Douglas County School District puts $450M bond, $60M mill levy on ballot



Douglas County voters will decide this fall whether to raise taxes to pay for teacher raises after the local school board voted Tuesday to put a $450 million bond measure and a $60 million mill levy override on November’s ballot.

The unanimous vote by Douglas County School District’s Board of Education was a rare show of unity by the board, which made headlines earlier this year for the division among its members.

If it passes, the Douglas County School District plans to use the money from the mill levy override to pay educators higher wages to help schools retain employees amid persisting staffing shortages. And if the bond passes, the district will use the money to build new schools in areas of the county where enrollment is growing and toward other expenses, such as school safety.

“Our teachers and our employees desperately need this,” said Director Elizabeth Hanson during the meeting.

For residents with homes valued between $500,000 and $1 million, the cost would be about $255 to $510 per year, according to the district. The mill levy on non-residential property that is valued at $100,000 would cost about $214 annually, according to the district.

The district said the bond would not increase taxes; they would, however, drop slightly if the bond is not passed, according to a presentation given by district employees to the Board of Education.

Of the $60 million from the mill levy override, $44.5 million would go to the district while $15.5 million would be allocated to charter schools. Most of the $44.5 million — roughly 70% — that is allocated for the district would go toward paying higher wages to licensed teachers. The rest of the money would support increased pay for non-licensed district employees.

On average, licensed-teacher salaries would increase 9% and starting salaries would rise by 10% to 12%, depending on experience and how hard jobs are to fill. For example, teachers with master’s degrees who make $59,3311 would see their salary increased to $66,427, according to the district’s presentation.



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