AURORA | A citizens’ committee advocating for a $15 million mill levy issue on the November ballot for the Aurora Public Schools District formally kicked off their campaign Wednesday on the grounds near Aurora Central High School.
Members of Aurora Citizens for Excellent Schools, or ACES, joined APS Superintendent John Barry and other district officials for the kickoff event Sept. 5. The press conference included former Aurora Mayor Paul Tauer, Aurora Education Association President Amy Nichols and APS board member Mary Lewis.
“This is a must-have project here in Aurora,” said John Britz, the committee’s campaign manager. “This is $15 million … just to take care of a portion of the $70 million worth of cuts,” he added, citing the cumulative cost of cuts from the state level.
The committee’s campaign follows the APS Board of Education’s vote last month for a tax question worth $15 million on the November ballot, a mill levy override that would add more than $8 to monthly property taxes for a median Aurora home.
If approved by voters in November, the $15 million mill levy override would add about $5.71 per month in property taxes for every $100,000 of actual home value.
Because of state law, Barry shied away from advocacy, speaking instead of the continued series of budget cuts from the state level.
“This hinders our ability to be globally competitive in this world,” Barry said. “I’m not a big tax guy, but I am a competitor … The facts are dire.”
If passed by voters, the mill levy override would go toward filling the gap left by millions of dollars worth of reductions, specifically for academic programs, classroom technology, equipment and curriculum materials, teacher retention and maintaining smaller class sizes.