Rico Potential Detachment and Annexation
From Dolores County School District (DCSD)
Telluride School District (TSD)
Working to Secure Education for the Kids of Rico
Please take our Rico Schools Realignment Survey
DRAFT Rico Reorganization Plan
adopted by the Planning Committee
on May 30, 2023
cover letter to Commissioner for Draft Plan for Reorganization 06-07-2023
What is Rico detachment and annexation and how does it work?
Detachment and annexation would alter the border between neighboring school districts to move the area around the Town of Rico, currently in the Dolores County School District, into the Telluride School District. The goal is to better serve the children who live in Rico. Both Dolores County School District voters (including Rico voters) and Telluride School District voters (excluding Rico voters) would vote on whether to align Rico within the Telluride school district. A positive majority would be required from both districts for detachment and annexation to be approved. It would not have to pass by precinct, but only by total majority in the entire district.
Why is this best for Rico kids? And why now?
Rico does not currently have a school for kids to attend within the town limits. The Rico School was re-opened in 2003 and closed in 2018 by the Dolores County School District due to low enrollment. Twenty-three Rico students are currently enrolled in the Telluride School District. Rico is located 72 miles, a 1 hour 15 minute drive, from Dove Creek, where the Dolores County School District schools are located. To drive from Rico to Dove Creek by main roads requires leaving Dolores County and driving through Montezuma County. Rico is located 28 miles, a 39 minute drive, from Telluride, where the Telluride School District schools are located. The majority of school-aged children in Rico attend Telluride schools through the Colorado School of Choice law, but that law does not guarantee enrollment in the Telluride schools. Many parents who live in Rico already commute to and work in Telluride every day. If approved, this plan would guarantee that students from Rico could attend Telluride schools as they would now be in-district students.
Would Dolores County Schools lose per-pupil school funding if Rico became part of the Telluride School District?
No. School districts are funded mostly through a mix of state and local revenue based on the number of students who attend their schools. That’s regardless of whether a student lives inside a district or attends schools while living in another district. The funding follows the student. Because Rico’s only school closed several years ago, and Rico students have been attending school in Telluride over the past several years, their share of the Dolores County district’s per-pupil revenue has been following them to Telluride to pay for their education. This would not change. That means the amount of per-pupil funding that would stay in the Dolores County School District after Rico’s detachment would be the same as it is now. Dolores County Schools would be held harmless.
How will this affect my tax rates in Dolores County? In Telluride? In Rico?
The impact likely would be minimal for Dolores County property-tax payers outside Rico as well as for all Telluride School District property-tax payers. In Rico itself, school property-tax rates would be reduced since the Telluride School District mill levy rate is lower than the Dolores County School District rate.
How will this affect the Mill Levy Override funds for Dolores County Schools — the amount of surplus revenue voters have let the district apply toward operating expenses — if Rico is detached?
Since the Rico School closed in 2018, the MLO funds generated by the Rico area have been spent in Rico on maintenance, utilities and staffing to inspect the properties monthly. Since the Rico elementary school closed, more than $106,000 has been spent on the Rico campus.
Would Rico residents continue to pay the recently passed school bond in Dolores County?
Legal research conducted by the school districts indicates that a reorganization plan can be written to either include Rico residents continuing to pay the bond for its full life, or not. Even if Rico residents continued to pay the school bond for the Dove Creek Elementary School, Rico residents would still see a decrease in their school property taxes because the mill levy is lower for the Telluride School District.
What does it all add up to in terms of dollars and cents?
The table below three scenarios and the impact on taxpayers in the two school districts and the Town of Rico.
|Change in annual School Property Taxes due to Detachment/Annexation for $500,000 Market Value Residential Property|
|DCSD RE2J||TSD R1||Rico|
|Detachment/annexation with Rico still paying DCSD RE2J school bond||$0||$1.73 decrease||$294.96 decrease|
|Detachment/annexation with Rico NOT paying DCSD RE2J school bond||$25.45 increase||$1.73 decrease||$598.36 decrease|
Kimberly Alexander – Dolores County School District resident
Sue Kunz – Rico resident
J Scott Landefeld – Telluride School District resident
Sarah Lyons – Rico resident
Madeline Tanguay – Rico resident
Tracy Voss Condon – Rico resident
Contact the Planning Committee:
Planning Committee Meetings
All meetings are open to the public
June 20 and 21, 2023 Public Information Hearings
June 5, 2023 Dolores County Board of County Commissioners
Planning Committee Media and Communication
Public Information Flyer for Dolores County School District
Public Information Flyer for Telluride School District
KOTO Spanish Off The Record 6-27-2023
KOTO Spanish Newscast 6-19-2023
Telluride Daily Planet Story 6-16-2023
Rico Ore Cart Story 6-7-2023 Dolores County Commissioners Meeting
KOTO Off The Record 3-28-2023
Rico Ore Cart Story – Summary of 3-28-2023 KOTO Off The Record
KOTO News Broadcast 2-9-2023
Telluride Daily Planet Story 2-9-2023
Presentation to Rico Board of Trustees 1-23-2023
Planning Committee Formation Documents
Notification from CDE Secretary of Education 1-10-2023
Dolores County School District Resolution 12-7-2022
Telluride School District Resolution 12-20-2022
Planning Committee Certification to Commissioner 1-30-2023