Gilpin County School District RE-1 Board of Education Education Enhancement Tax Statement May 7, 2024

The Board of Education and the school community are grateful to the voters of the City of Black Hawk for the 1.5% sales tax on lodging, food, and beverage revenue that has been dedicated to the District. The Education Enhancement Tax (EET) revenue for the school is commonly referred to as the Black Hawk money.

  • 2007-The Great Recession: Gilpin County School District (GCSD) had already been experiencing years of expenditures that exceeded the revenue provided by the state.
    • Maintaining the operations of the school and keeping the doors open for Gilpin children was in financial jeopardy. 
    • Board of Education members at that time approached the City of Black Hawk to enter into discussions that evolved into a collaboration to generate needed revenue, keep local control of the community’s school, and keep the school property tax mill levy low. 
  • 2008-The City of Black Hawk taxpayers voted for and passed the Educational Enhancement Tax (EET).
    • The EET dedicated 1.5% sales tax revenue for lodging, food, and beverage for Gilpin school students.
    • Black Hawk taxpayers kept the school open for Gilpin children; saved local control of the school; and saved GCSD from being potentially absorbed into another school district.
    • 2009-The Colorado Legislature created a new budget stabilization factor in the Public School Finance Act formula due to the Great Recession and economic downturn that put pressure on the state’s budget.
    • The factor is a state budget tool that proportionally reduces the amount of total funding for each school district below the level otherwise authorized to keep up with inflation as approved by voters in Amendment 23.
    • The factor reduces state revenue share to districts. For the last fifteen years (2009-2024) the Budget Stabilization, as well as additional recessions, has reduced GCSD state share revenue a total of $5,882,208.
  • 2024-The EET tax, the Black Hawk money, has generated $15,402,749 for Gilpin County School children. EET Ensures Reduced Local School Property TaxesGCSD has one of the lowest total program mill levies in Colorado at 6.651 mills. Of the 178 school districts in Colorado, the GCSD mill levy is the eighth lowest. The Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) total program mill levy is 27 mills and with overrides and bond redemption the total levy is 48.024 mills.
  • The Jefferson County School District (Jeffco) total program mill levy is 27 mills, and with overrides and bond redemption the total levy is 44.526 mills.
  • The GCSD total levy with overrides is 9.477 mills, thanks to the City of Black Hawk and its voters. The EET agreement between the City of Black Hawk and GCSD is to keep the school mill levy low and use EET revenue to use for school operations and not ask voters for a mill levy override, increasing property taxes.
  • Use for capital improvements and not ask voters for a bond issue, increasing property taxes. 
  • EET Revenue Uses
  • Increased the teacher starting base salary over the past 10 years from $33,000 to $50,000.
  • Among program expenditures, the EET supplements and provides:
    • preschool tuition, extracurricular activities, and provides a Chromebook computer to every student. 
    • Safer and more reliable transportation fleet of new, upgraded buses, adding an activity bus and a handicap accessible bus for student use.
    • Upgraded activity field and added a 6-lane track.
    • Provided a new and enhanced preschool and elementary playground and increased safety by paving the south parking lot, lining, and creating a one way traffic flow.
    • Supported a long list of capital improvements to enhance student and staff safety at school. All of these achievements are at risk if Gilpin County voters approve a county-wide sales and use tax.
    • Borrowing $4.2 Million
    • The State of Colorado requires GCSD to resolve the non-compliant groundwater discharge from the on-site wastewater treatment facility. The best, cost-effective solution is to construct a sewer pipe for $8.1 million from GCSD to the Black Hawk Central City Sanitation District.
  • The Board pursued certificates of participation to borrow $4.2 million to mitigate cash flow concerns and maintain the financial reserves required by CDE.
  • The revenue from the Black Hawk money goes into the General Fund, freeing up other revenue for capital projects.
  • Potential EET Revenue Loss
  • There are a number of actions in the EET Intergovernmental Agreement (see agreement) that will end the school Black Hawk money, for example, the creation of a Regional Transportation District that includes part or all of Gilpin County; GCSD increasing the school mill levy; or, a sales tax, use tax, or lodging tax imposed by Gilpin County voters.
  • The loss of the EET revenue …
  • Would result in teacher position cuts, elimination of school curricular and extracurricular programs, jeopardize student and staff safety, and put GCSD into a financial survival existence.
  • May result in the loss of local community control of the school; and GCSD may be dissolved and absorbed into another school district, for example BVSD, with a 48 mills school total tax levy, or Jeffco, with a 45 mills school total tax levy.
  • May force the Board of Education to ask District voters to pass mill levy override questions just to maintain operations and pass bond issue questions for capital improvements to address deferred facility maintenance, transportation, safety, and technology student needs. Either and both would unnecessarily increase the local property owners’ tax liabilities. 
  • Thank You
  • Thank you for considering and evaluating this significant financial risk to our school if we lost the Black Hawk money. The GCSD Board of Education is extremely grateful to the City of Black Hawk and its residents for ongoing support of our school and students.  
  • ADOPTED AND APPROVED this 7th day of May, 2024 by the Gilpin County School District RE-1 Board of Education. Sarah Swanson, President; Joe Marr, Vice President; Kirsten Goodlett, Secretary/Treasurer; Joe Stranaly, Member-at-Large
Capital Construction Projects Timeline 2024

Project 1-ADA Entrance and Parking Project Timeline-TBA

Public Meeting May 29, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.

Project 2-Wastewater Interconnect Project Public Meeting-ESCO Construction will host an informational meeting on Wednesday, May 29, 2024 in the elementary school Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) at 6:30 p.m. The presentation will include the construction route, traffic control on Highway 119 from the school south to Black Hawk, and the construction period timeline. The public is invited to attend. Enter the elementary school at the south side entrance by the playground for the meeting.

Preschool Parents Apply for UPK

Gilpin County Preschool enrolls 3 and 4-year-old students. Gilpin County Preschool is participating in Universal Preschool (UPK). UPK Colorado allows families of children who will be 4-years-old by October 1 each year in the year before they are eligible for kindergarten, and qualifying 3-year-olds, to apply now for UPK Colorado for the 2023-24 school year to receive partial to full tuition assistance. UPK applications are currently being accepted.

Parents should select Gilpin County Preschool as your UPK provider. You can begin your application at any time and return to it as many times as you like before submitting. Gilpin County Preschool will be accepting students who live in the GCSD as well as students who reside outside of the school district. Classes begin on August 21, 2023 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. A half-day mornings only session from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. is available.

Qualifying 3-year-olds- Families of children who will be 3-years-old by October 1 each year who have at least one qualifying factor may apply to UPK for the 2023-24 school year to receive partial to full tuition assistance. Qualifying factors are listed in the UPK application.

Families of 3-year-olds also have the opportunity to apply for a Mt. Thomas Action Fund Request from the Gilpin County Education Foundation (GCEF) for preschool tuition assistance.

For additional information and assistance, contact Codi Ramsey, Elementary Administrative Assistant,

Financial Transparency