Let me take this opportunity to thank all citizens of La Plata County for their support of our recent mill levy initiative. While we succeeded with 63 percent casting a supportive vote, I hope we continue to build upon the trust our community has extended.
Four broad areas of focus for these new revenues have been identified, and I would like to provide some additional insight on how those funds will be used. With these new revenues and existing state funding, we will continue to work to refine our system to ensure that all students find success in being ready for whatever they face after their prekindergarten to 12th-grade experience. Our system must continue to change to meet the challenges our kids will face when they become contributing citizens in our 21st-century world.
Since I arrived in the district, we have been working on creating systems to track common levels of performance across our district. While each of our schools have worked hard in the past to define that independently, we will continue to work at creating ways to track common mastery so that all students can reach similar success. Since all of our elementary children feed into one of two middle schools and eventually one of two high school options, we must have clear expectations.
While the results and expectations may be similar, “how” schools get students there is still unique to each school community and culture, and to each student’s needs and goals. The new revenues realized through our successful mill levy allow stronger support of our schools in exploring unique instructional approaches to meet the needs of students. In the end, students should be prepared to apply their skills to demonstrate common mastery in any subject area.
We’ve been forced to streamline our programs since 2010 as state revenues diminished. With the new revenues expected from the recent mill levy override, we will be able to further examine the needs of our students. We will continue to seek to enhance our curricular offerings at all levels, including the return of some programs. We continue to expand on career and technical offerings for our students, including the expansion of our partnerships with our local colleges.
In addition to catching up on the maintenance of our district facilities, the revenues will be critical to us as we seek to put into place a new compensation system for our teachers and support staff. Both of these groups have worked in outdated systems that have been unsustainable and lacked opportunities to incentivize development of skill that has a direct benefit on our students.
I am most proud of the district’s partnership with our two state charter schools, which will also share these new revenues and have been forced to rely on community fundraisers to secure their quality programs in the past. The mill levy will provide an additional $330 per student in revenues, and these funds will help all of our public schools invest in programming for all of Durango’s kids.
On behalf of a grateful district, thank you again for your continued support. We hope that you find new ways to get involved in shaping education in Durango.
Email Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger at DSnowberger@durango.k12.co.us.