The Douglas County School District Board of Education is finalizing plans for a committee that will oversee the use of funds from two tax measures approved in the November election. A $250 million …
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The Douglas County School District Board of Education is finalizing plans for a committee that will oversee the use of funds from two tax measures approved in the November election.
A $250 million bond will go toward capital needs and new construction, and a $40 million mill levy override will address teacher pay and programming. Over the next five years, the district needs between $152 million and $200 million to address Tier 1 items, which are building components that compromise school safety and risk school closure, such as a roof, fire alarm system or generator.
Board members and residents of Douglas County deemed the committee necessary to provide transparency and assure taxpayers that the additional funds will be spent as intended.
“I am excited to move forward together and share this information and I would encourage our community to continue to share in what we do with this money,” board member Anne Anne-Marie Lemieux said at a November board meeting. “It's your money, we need to spend it wisely — hold us accountable.”
The Mill and Bond Oversight Committee will act as a link of communication between the school district and the community. Committee members will meet regularly to review the use of funds and report expenditures to the board of education. They will study the district's Master Capital Plan and visit schools that undergo construction projects.
“There are going to be changes along the way and we want to make sure we communicate those openly and honestly so that there is no perception that we are doing something that we didn't commit to in the beginning,” Scott Smith, the district's chief financial officer, said at a Dec. 13 board meeting.
Starting in May, the committee will remain active for three years, during which the district expects to spend 85 percent of the bond funds.
The committee will be made up of licensed teachers, classified staff, parents, community members from each region of the county, district staff and school board liaisons, either a chief financial officer, chief operations officer or director of construction, government agency representative and member of law enforcement.
Also on the committee will be a representative from the district's Long Range Planning Committee — which studies capacity and construction — Fiscal Oversight Committee, District Accountability Committee and Student Advisory Committee.
At the Dec. 13 school board meeting in Castle Rock, the school board unanimously approved a process for committee selection. Jan. 11 is the deadline for applications, which will be posted online at dcsdk12.org/funding.
Applications will be forwarded to an interview committee comprising members of the district's existing committees, district staff and teachers. The interview committee will conduct interviews in February and make recommendations to the school board.
Board members will review the recommendations and make selections in late March.
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