"That was pretty surprising because normally in times like this, if you let consumers vote on a tax, if they're having tough times, they'll vote against it," Mac Clouse, professor of finance at the University of Denver, said. "So, the fact that they all passed is a good sign for the economy.
Across the state only one bond issue failed: the Gilchrist School District in rural Weld County. Only one mill levy override proposal was defeated in the Cheyenne RE-5 school district along the Eastern Plains. And, out of the 13 school district seeking bond issues to fulfill a grant request with the state's Building Excellent Schools Today grant designed to help smaller school districts build new facilities; only the West End School District in Montrose County failed.
Clause says he never expected these results considering that last year a statewide effort to raise taxes for schools failed by a large margin.
"It is a dramatic change. It suggests that consumers now have confidence that we are beginning to come back," Clouse said. "We're still coming back, but we're coming back and it's a good sign for the future."
In Denver, the bond issue will be used to make various repairs and renovations at all of its old school buildings around the city. Schools built with the "open classroom" design will have walls constructed on the inside to separate students and solve noise issues. Heating and air conditioning systems will be replaced. District leaders hope this will alleviate some concerns that students spend time in overheated classrooms in late August.
Clouse says the number of construction projects in Denver as well as around the state can have a great economic impact on Colorado.
"Anytime, you get a construction project, you get all of the people that are involved in doing the construction work," Clouse explained. "You have a positive impact for the suppliers for the materials, suppliers of other services. So, it has a multiplier effect and it's very good news."
Denver will use a $49 million mill levy override to expand pre-school programs to lower income families around Denver.
In Jefferson County, a $99 million bond issue will be used to fix maintenance issues across the district.
"Roof leaks are a big issue in the district right now," Debbie Harman, supervisor for custodial services for Jefferson County, said. "I know we've got some roof projects that are gonna be going on. We very excited about it. Some of our buildings have been patched many, many times."
Harman says the district is calling this the "Invisible Bond" because it will take care of so many behind the scenes issues like ventilation systems and building fire alarms.
Jefferson County's approved $39 million mill levy override will be used to retain teachers and programs like elementary school orchestra. It allows the district to save the jobs of school teacher-librarians across the district.
"I think that the Jeffco community has sent a clear message that they value great public education," Harman said.
In Cherry Creek, voters approved a $125 million bond issue for building renovations. Part of the money will be used to create a dedicated classroom to science, technology, engineering, and math. Superintendent Mary Chesley says this is an important move for the future.
"Whether it is knowing the technical language or using the technical tools," said Chesley. "We know that this will best prepare our kids for the world they're going to live in and the economy that they're going to drive in this country."
Voters in Cherry Creek approved a $25 million bond issue that will be used in the classroom to maintain class sizes and expand technology programs.
In Aurora and St. Vrain Valley Schools, voters approved a $15 million boost to their classroom budgets in exchange for increased property taxes. Both the Sheridan School District and Greeley Schools had bond issues approved which allows them to receive additional grant money through the BEST Program.
Chesley says she is encouraged by the wave of support for schools statewide.
"I think we saw last night that education nation isn't an exception," Chesley said. "Education nation is the exceptional things that happen in our school districts every day."
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)