Aspen School Board approves lowest mill levy in 5 years
The Aspen School District Board of Education approved its 2024 mill levy at a special meeting Monday morning after receiving final property valuations from the county on Jan. 2.
The approved mill levy is 7.261 mills, over 1.5 mills less than 2023’s rate of 8.916 mills. It is the first time in at least five years the rate dropped below eight mills. The district’s assessed value for 2024 is $5.41 billion, up from $3.46 billion.
Although assessed property values increased by nearly 60%, the district is limited by the state in how much it can collect in taxes.
“The district is now funded with local dollars instead of state funding, which is a new process for us,” said ASD Superintendent of Business Mary Rodino. “But I did want to also mention that the levy is still limited to the state’s calculation of our total program costs.”
ASD switched to 100% local funding in 2023 because local sources of school funding — including higher property taxes and funds from the Aspen Education Foundation — exceed the state’s allocation for the district. But the state still determines the maximum amount of funding districts can receive based on the amount of students and the state’s set cost of per-pupil funding.
The district will collect about $8.5 million because of increased property values. Most of that funding — about $6 million — will replace the amount of funding that was formerly subsidized by the state, Rodino said in a Dec. 20 school board meeting.
About $1 million will be used to pay the state back for categorical aid like transportation and other types of targeted aid.
The district can collect the remaining $1.498 million in additional taxes as a result of switching to local funding. The funds will be placed in a reserve account for one year before some of all of it can be used.
The additional funds the district will collect amounts to approximately $25 in additional taxes per $1 million of assessed valuation.
In a Nov. 29 meeting, Rodino urged the school board to use the additional tax to rebuild the district’s reserves, which have decreased by 75% since 2018.
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