Shaping Their Future

Future Funding for Douglas County Schools


Douglas County School District is home to 68,000 students who attend 91 public schools. Covering over 850 total square miles, our district is the third largest in Colorado. As we celebrate our 60th anniversary, there are many funding challenges and needs that must be addressed to ensure that each and every one of our students has access to the best possible public education.

On August 21, 2018, the Douglas County School District Board of Education voted to place a $40 million Mill Levy Override (MLO) and $250 million no-new-taxes Bond on the 2018 ballot. (press release)

Read the Ballot Language

If passed, these funds would stay local to help the 68,000+ students in Douglas County Schools. Douglas County School District has not passed a new MLO or Bond since 2006. 

To put that in perspective, the last time we passed a MLO/Bond our current high school seniors were in Kindergarten. 

What is the difference between an MLO and a Bond?

MLO funding is generally used for operational needs such as salaries, staffing and student programming. 
Bond funding is generally used for capital needs such as facility repairs, security upgrades, purchasing classroom equipment, buses and technology. 

If passed, these new local dollars would enable Douglas County School District to:
  • Increase teacher/staff pay to address internal pay gaps and become more competitive with the pay of our neighboring school districts.
  • Enhance safety and security at all schools, including neighborhood, charter, magnet and alternative schools.  
  • Reduce student to counselor ratios at our middle, and high schools and add counselors at the elementary school level. 
  • Address overdue capital repairs at school buildings such as heating and cooling systems, fire alarm systems, plumbing, etc.
  • Add more student programming opportunities, including alternative, and career and technical education options
  • Explore and provide new construction to address community growth.
  • Replace aging buses and classroom technology.

Kids with Questions: Northridge Elementary second grader interviews Principal Katie Lynch

Bradley is a second-grader at Northridge Elementary in Highlands Ranch. Bradley can "sometimes" read minds and has never been to the Principal's Office -- until now. He asks his principal, Katie Lynch, about how to make his school ready for future generations.

View all "Kids with Questions" videos on YouTube

DCSD Principals Mike Weaver (Mountain Vista HS) and Andy Abner (Rock Canyon HS) Discuss Funding Challenges in DCSD

In this 45-minute presentation, Principals Mike Weaver and Andy Abner explain what is needed in DCSD schools, how schools are funded, and the challenges DCSD is facing.

Download a PDF version of the slideshow presented in the video

What Do Our Schools Need?

AppleThe Best Teachers for Our Students
Address competitive pay to retain and attract excellent teachers amidst the current teacher shortage.

WellnessStudent Safety and Wellness
Enhance the security of our schools and invest in additional mental health support and prevention programming for students.

LightbulbExcellence in Student Programming
Ensure all students have equitable access to excellent educational resources and programming in their schools.

WrenchIncreased Career and Technical Education Opportunities
Provide additional pathways that prepare our students for their future careers or vocations.

BuildingUpdate Aging School Buildings and Address Growth
Update our aging school buildings and provide space for growth to ensure optimal learning environments for current and future generations of students.

DCSD Funding Challenges and Needs Flyer

Downloadable flyer with more facts and figures regarding the funding challenges in Douglas County School District as well as information about how our schools are funded.

Funding FAQ's

How are schools funded? Why can't DCSD simply cut administrative costs? Find answers here.


Download shareable graphics containing data and information about DCSD, as well as funding issues.

Full Funding Challenges Presentation

Downloadable PDF presentation with more details and facts surrounding the funding challenges in Douglas County School District.

Request a Speaker for a Business or Community Event

If you would like to invite a DCSD leader to speak at an event you are coordinating, please complete this form.

The Marijuana Money Myth

The tax revenue from marijuana is tiny in comparison to the school funding needs in Colorado. Almost none of that revenue goes towards operational costs for our public schools, and most of the schools in the Denver Metro region do not benefit from this fund. Here's an explanation.

What is Mental Health Prevention and How Could DCSD Benefit from Additional Resources for It?

When it comes to mental health services, communities traditionally focus on supporting kids as needs arise. This work is crucial for the safety of our students. Equally important, though, is prevention-based programming that can help, early on, prevent the social-emotional challenges our kids may be experiencing from escalating.

How Are Our Schools Funded?

DCSD Per Pupil Revenue

The 1994 School Finance Act determines how much funding each school district will receive
("Total Program" and "Per Pupil Funding")

Local Share = Fixed tax rate set by State of Colorado applied to all Douglas County School District (DCSD) taxpayers.

State Share = Funding from State Income Tax and Sales Tax allocated by Legislature (39% of State's General Fund). 

More Local Share = Less State Share
An increase in local funding due to economic growth and rising property taxes does not provide our schools with more money - it just means the state contributes less.

Note: Local Share refers to School Finance Act funding only and is not inclusive of Mill Levy Override. 

Historical Mill Levy Override

Mill Levy Overrides

Each district can request additional local funding from voters (up to 25% more) through a local Mill Levy Override (MLO). This funding is general used for operational needs such as salaries and student programming.

New Bond Authorization Over Time


Local voter-approved general obligation bonds are used by school districts for capital needs such as new school buildings, facility repairs, technology or school buses.