District 11 expects millions in grants after voters decided to 'De-TABOR"

TABOR is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights enacted in Colorado in 1992
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 8:39 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs voters saw an item on their election ballot asking if School District 11 should be allowed to opt out of TABOR, or the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, to receive unlimited state and local funds.

Roughly 3 in 4 citizens who voted on the issue said yes to letting D-11 opt out of TABOR.

“It will really open our doors to millions of dollars,” said D-11 Chief Financial Officer Glenn Gustafson. “It’s really a big deal for District 11. We tried many, many years ago, in the 90s and failed. ... We’re really glad that voters said this doesn’t really make as much sense for school districts.”

TABOR passed in 1992 in Colorado as a means to prevent rising taxes. The legislation uses a formula to calculate revenue and spending limits that public sectors, including school systems, must adhere to.

Since then, arguments against TABOR have stated it’s outdated and particularly is not a good fit for school systems, which continue to face rising operational costs. District 11 was one of four Colorado school districts out of the total 178 in the state that was still adhering to TABOR prior to this election.

“There are so many grants available to school districts in our situation that we really couldn’t apply for, grants that will help the kids in our schools directly,” Gustafson added.

To give an example of where grant money will go, D-11 spent grant money recently to replace the water pipe system in a school where the water was apparently rusty coming out of drinking fountains. With state and local grant money received now limitless, leaders expect to bring in millions to modernize schools and make them more functional and enjoyable spaces for students.

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