How do I register to vote?
Registration for voting is easier than ever. Colorado residents can register to vote:
- Only if you have a Colorado driver's license or ID card issued by the Colorado DMV
- By mail, by fax, or by email
- In person
- Register to vote online here, or visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website at govotecolorado.org.
- You MUST have either:
- A valid Colorado driver's license
- A Colorado ID card issued by the DMV
- A valid Colorado driver's license
By Mail, Fax, or E-mail
- Submit the Colorado Voter Registration Form to your county clerk's office. You can also pick up this form directly from your county clerk's.
How long has it been since voters approved a local tax increase to support our schools?
Voters last approved a bond proposal (construction dollars) for the district in 2006, and the first-ever Mill Levy Override was approved in 2002. Since then, Colorado has cut $90 million from the WPS budget.
Prior to 2017-18 per pupil funding was lower than it was in 2008-09. If the MLO is passed, the district's per pupil spending will increase by $73 per student.
How has WPS been spending its money?
Since 2009-10, the state has failed in providing adequate funding for our schools. WPS has made efforts to keep the budget cuts away from the classroom as much as possible. Approximately $5.2 million in cuts have been made to central staff and administration, technology refresh and upgrades, textbook purchases, department budgets have been cut, student/teacher ratios have increased, and WPS is expected to use $5 million in reserves this year to balance the current budget.
This Budget Transparency Guide gives you an overview of the WPS budget for 2018-19. It is important to remember that about 85% of the district’s budget goes to support employee salaries and benefits. WPS also has a Financial Transparency webpage where you can read the budget and see where your money is going.
Why does WPS need more money?
A Mill Levy Override (MLO) is necessary to maintain an operating budget that will allow all schools, new and old, to retain and hire quality teachers, keep class sizes manageable, implement quality programming, and mainstream and maintain current technology resources. If the 2018 MLO passes, WPS will also designate funds as a capital component to upgrade current facilities.
Where would new money go?
The proposal under consideration would raise about $9.9 million a year. It would pay for essential costs such as:
- Building upgrades and construction
- Attracting and retaining quality teachers
- Enhancing the Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs, which prepares students to graduate from high school and step into rewarding, high-paying jobs
The WPS Board of Education has also endorsed Amendment 73, Great Schools Thriving Communities, which would raise $1.5 billion a year to support public education in Colorado. Proponents estimate the measure would raise $16.5 million a year for WPS.
Learn more in these two resources:
How are schools funded now?
Most of the money for local school districts comes from the state of Colorado, which has drastically reduced its commitment to public education. Public schools in Colorado are primarily funded through a combination of both local property taxes and state revenues. Historically, local property taxes have made up the majority of funding. However, since property taxes have decreased and will continue to do so based on the impact of the constitutional Gallagher Amendment, the state has been required to fill in the amount that property taxes used to cover. Read the TABOR/Gallagher Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and the Mill Levy Stabilization FAQ for more information.
Learn more about the School Finance Act online at cde.state.co.us/cdefinance.
How is WPS held accountable for spending voter approved funds?
Oversight is provided by the Board of Education and the Finance Committee. The Board consists of elected representatives from across the district, and the Finance Committee consists of financial professionals from the public and private sector.
Furthermore, WPS publishes an annual Budget Transparency Guide that gives you an overview of the WPS budget. Superintendent Pamela Swanson also hosts quarterly meetings to provide WPS families with updates and disclose how budget dollars are being applied. The Financial Services team and Board of Education members also attend family meetings at all schools throughout the school year to share updates about the district's budget and other district issues.
Lastly, WPS financial reporting and transparency has been recognized as excellent. In 2017 the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International’s Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for excellence in the preparation and issuance of its budget for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 and the certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2017. This was the 11th-consecutive year that WPS has achieved these prestigious awards.
Is there a long-term plan for WPS?
What happened to the marijuana money?
None of the money raised from the sale of recreational marijuana goes to support classroom instruction. A small fraction of the revenues goes to support buildings, primarily in rural Colorado. Learn more about how this money benefits Colorado school districts online here.
Test scores have been good in WPS, why do we need to raise additional funds?
The good news is test scores, graduation rates, school rankings and enrollment have all been upward trending in WPS over the last four years. In order to continue to deliver a high-quality, personalized and diversified education to our students all during a recession and state budget crisis, we must continue to invest in our schools and the programs that support this growth.
WPS leadership has steered our district through lean budget times by cutting $5.2 million to maximize efficiencies and keep funding cuts away from the classroom.
Why doesn’t WPS charge bus transportation fees?
Charging for transportation was considered by the WPS Board of Education and the Fiscal Oversite Committee as a cost containment issue during budget discussions. But it was determined that charges for bus services could negatively impact our enrollment numbers and severely increase student absenteeism, therefore increasing district costs for truant officers required to collect absent students and bring them to school as required by law. We also have a student population that cannot afford to pay the fees if they were to be charged.
How can I learn more?
Bookmark this webpage and check back regularly for updates. We will also publish information about public discussions on the issue and add more questions and answers as they arise.