(April 1) – The House gave final approval this morning to the Debt-Free Schools Act, sponsored by Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, and Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, which grants school districts the power to seek voter approval to fund school construction and maintenance needs through an additional mill levy.

“Right now, schools can’t plan ahead when it comes to funding for construction and maintenance,” said Rep. Mitsch Bush. “Because of that, they end up going into debt, and end up paying for debt service out of their operating budgets. This bill gives schools an option to raise funds and pay as they go for construction costs, which means more money for our classrooms.”

HB16-1354 specifies that revenue raised from such a mill levy may earn interest and must be used for the sole purpose of paying for the capital construction and facility maintenance needs of that district. Essentially, each district is tasked with meeting the needs of its community. School districts would be able to plan ahead for maintenance and construction costs in a designated account, while ultimately being responsible to district voters.

The 53-12 vote sends the bill to the Senate.

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