School board: No support for taxes
'We wouldn't benefit that much'
The road to support Amendment 66 was passed by Monday by board members from the Mancos School District as officials neither opposed nor supported the measure.
Despite being listed as an action item on the board's agenda, officials opted not to take any action at all in adopting a resolution to support the school-finance reform measure. Instead, they voted to remove the item from the agenda completely.
"Our constituency is strongly anti-tax," said board president Monty Guiles. "(Amendment 66) is a payroll tax."
If passed by voters in November, the ballot initiative stipulates that 43 percent of the state's revenue would be designated to fund public education. The Mancos School District could subsequently receive more than $185,000 in additional state funds if approved.
During their work session Monday night, board members agreed the reform measure could have been better designed. Board treasurer Chris Kloster said he supports increased funding for education, but he opposes the mechanisms outlined in the mandate, adding he was concerned that strings might be attached to funding.
"The bitter pill for me to swallow in Amendment 66 is it's focused on at-risk children at at-risk schools," he said. "We wouldn't benefit that much, and that's what bothers me."
If approved, the amendment is funded through payroll taxes, meaning a 5 percent cut in paychecks for those earning less than $75,000, and a 5.9 percent cut in earnings for those making more than $75,000.
As an educator, school superintendent Brian Hanson supports the measure, but he remains on the fence as a voter.
"Personally, when I walk into that ballot box I don't know how I'm going to vote," he said.
School officials in Cortez, Dolores and Durango have adopted resolutions in support of Amendment 66, but officials in Dove Creek and Pagosa Springs have not.
In related news, the Colorado Association of School Boards recently granted its peer-nominated McGuffey Award to Kloster.
The outgoing Mancos School District treasurer, Kloster admitted he likes to stay under the radar as an elected official, but added the recognition was an honor.
"The acknowledgement from my peers is what's most rewarding about receiving the McGuffey Award," he said.
Hanson described Kloster as insighful, thoughful and geniunely concerned about improving education across the district, adding that Kloster's experience would be missed.
"Chris has represented Mancos very well," Hanson said. "He has been an excellent board member."
Kloster's daughters attended schools in Mancos, and he's thankful he was able to give back to the community he has called home for the past 15 years.
"I feel like the schools have made vast improvements, and I think we've helped make it an excellent choice for parents to send their kids," he said.
A biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Kloster has served on the school board for the past six years. He has opted to give up his post in November.
"I am not running for re-election," he said. "I'm going to retire as a school board member."