Offering a Different View on Denver Area School Bond and Tax Elections

In an interview yesterday with reporter Nelson Garcia of 9News, our own Ben DeGrow offered a different point of view on the bevy of school district bond and mill levy elections slated for the Denver metro area this November (H/T Mount Virtus):

Ben DeGrow is the education policy analyst for the Education Policy Center within the Independence Institute, which is a conservative political think tank. DeGrow says too many middle class families are coping with high gas prices and a poor real estate market to think about raising their own property taxes for schools.

“This may be a tough year for JeffCo and other metro school districts to be asking for money,” said DeGrow.

JeffCo is just one of the major districts around Denver poised to ask voters for money this fall. Denver, Aurora, and Cherry Creek have also expressed the intent to place bond issues or mill levies on the November ballot along with a number of other districts across Colorado.

DeGrow says school districts place bond issues and mill levies on the ballot during presidential elections because that means more un-informed voters will come to the polls.

“You’re reaching into a base of voters who don’t necessarily have as much information who may be inclined to just give more money to schools because it sounds like the right thing to do,” said Degrow.

DeGrow says, instead, people should be asking districts how it can spend the money it already has more efficiently instead of trying to fix all problems by throwing more money into the system.

“Most studies show, there’s no connection between how much is spent and what the results are as far as student tests,” said DeGrow.

You can also find the video by following the link to the story. Ben’s interview follows up on similar points that Pam Benigno made to 9News a couple months ago.

As highlighted in this backgrounder Ben wrote, Colorado still ranks 26th in per-pupil spending at roughly $10,000 per pupil. It’s time for more school district budget transparency.