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Raising K-12 salaries and deeper coffers; What Prop CC and Issue 4A have to offer

Local ballot initiatives are asking to raise taxes to further fund Colorado education and educators, as explained in a previous Collegian article. But what does that really mean for the community? 

Proposition CC

Backed by Colorado State University’s Board of Governors Sept. 9, Proposition CC will adjust the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights to allow the state to keep excess tax revenue and use it to further fund public and higher education.


Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said there’s two features of TABOR that are very important, one of which is that any tax increase or modification of tax policy must go to a state-wide vote of the people. 

“Secondly, TABOR indexes what the state can spend, with an index that’s pretty constrained,” Ritter said. “Whatever the state can spend, … if there is tax revenue left over above what the state is allowed to spend under the TABOR formula, it’s returned to the people.” 

However, Proposition CC does not constrain future legislators to spending the kept revenue on education and transportation.

Ritter said education and transportation funding are the main purpose of the legislation, and CC keeps in place TABOR’s requirement that any tax increase or change in tax policy must go to a state-wide vote. 

“While it’s unclear what, exactly, this would mean for (Poudre School District), in general, we would expect some additional one-time funding for education across the state,” PSD Executive Director of Communications Madeline Noblett wrote in an email to The Collegian. “While the district would be an appreciative recipient of these funds, should the measure pass, it is not responsible of us to use these one-time dollars for salaries, which are an ongoing cost.”

Ballot Issue 4A

It’s time to unite together. … The time is now for all of us to rise and lead the charge.” -Mark Bartlett, physical education teacher at Irish Elementary School

Ballot Issue 4A is also known as the PSD mill levy override. 4A’s passage would increase collected PSD property tax by $18 million, used primarily to increase teacher salaries.

Anyone who wishes to find an estimate on how much the property tax increase will be for a specific home can do so on Larimer County’s property assessor website.

“Our salaries haven’t kept up, and we’re scraping by,” said Irish Elementary physical education teacher Mark Bartlett at the Aug. 27 PSD Board of Education meeting. “In order to recruit and retain high-quality candidates, we need to offer a livable wage, and the surrounding districts have done just that.”

PSD plans to allocate $14.7 million of the tax increase to teacher salaries. Not only will first-year teaching salaries be raised to attract new teachers, but PSD wants to restructure the teacher salary schedule to maintain competitive wages and retain quality teachers.


Salary raises for classified employees and support staff are also important aspects of the restructured plan.

“As a school psychologist, which is consistently a hard-to-fill position, I encourage your support of the mill levy override for the purposes of talent attraction and retention,” said Melanie Potyondy, a psychologist at Rocky Mountain High School. 

School psychologists are vital to meeting the needs of PSD students with disabilities and safeguarding the safety and emotional wellness of our kindergarten through 21-year-olds here in our district.” -Melanie Potyondy, psychologist, Rocky Mountain High School

Two million dollars will go to increased mental health services for students.

“We know the mental health needs of our students are increasing, and we need to have enough adults to care for and work with them,” Noblett wrote. “PSD does not yet have a specific number or breakdown of positions identified at this time. If the measure passes, PSD would make a recommendation about the hiring of future personnel as part of the district’s annual budget process.”

Potyondy said there’s a serious and persistent state-wide shortage of school psychologists in a time when youth mental health is a more pressing issue than ever before. That $2 million can fund school psychologists. 

“School psychologists are vital to meeting the needs of PSD students with disabilities and safeguarding the safety and emotional wellness of our kindergarten through 21-year-olds here in our district,” Potyondy said. 

PSD asked for the mill levy override because the district currently has the lowest first-year teacher salary in the Northern Colorado community, which includes Loveland, Greeley and Longmont, by roughly $5,000 per teacher annually.  

“It’s time to unite together,” Bartlett said. “The time is now for all of us to rise and lead the charge.”

Serena Bettis can be reached at or on Twitter @serenaroseb

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at

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