RE-1 voters OK levy override |

RE-1 voters OK levy override

Voters in the Roaring Fork School District (RE-1) approved a mil-levy override yesterday that will generate an additional $2.2 million annually for public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

Voters from portions of Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties approved the ballot question by more than 1,000 votes: 3,883 to 2,665.

“We’re pleased,” said RE-1 Superintendent Fred Wall after results were tallied last night. “It’s a great vote of confidence for the RE-1 school district.”

The additional $2.2 million in the district’s annual operating budget will be used in one of three ways, school officials said. More than half of the additional revenue will go toward teacher salary increases; $600,000 will go toward the hiring of more kindergarten through third-grade teachers in an effort to lower student-teacher ratios; and about $400,000 will go toward updating and maintaining computers and other technology.

“This is a very important victory,” Wall said. “This is the first time the RE-1 district has done a mil-levy override election, so we’re very happy that the community supported us.”

The override allows the district to raise and spend local property tax revenues in excess of limits imposed by the state.

Wall said in recent history RE-1 voters approved ballot questions that allowed for the construction of Basalt High School, Crystal River Elementary and Sopris Elementary, but never to bolster the district’s annual operating budget.

“It’s always more difficult to get voters to approve something that’s not bricks and mortar,” Wall said. “This is the first election that I’ve been involved in here, so I didn’t know really what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the support we received from our schools and administrators, teachers and parents; I feel like everyone did their best.”

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