FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: GSTC coalition files school funding initiatives

Diverse coalition continues to push for adequate, equitable and sustainable solution to address the school funding crisis

Denver, Colorado (April 5, 2019): The Great Schools Thriving Communities coalition that put Amendment 73 on the ballot has filed a number of school funding initiatives with the Colorado Title Board in recent weeks.

The coalition, which represents more than 25 diverse stakeholder groups, including traditional education associations as well as advocacy and civil rights groups, has continued to meet, organize and coalesce around policy positions.  Today’s action is intended to keep all options open in addressing the school funding crisis in Colorado that continues to challenge the state.

“The urgency to address school funding in Colorado has not gone away,” explains Nora Brown, President-elect, Colorado PTA. “Our coalition won’t rest until our state finally invests adequately and equitably in our students and teachers.”

According to national rankings on school funding, for Colorado to reach the national average, it would cost between $2.1 – $2.8 billion. Colorado school funding has not recovered from cuts made during the last recession and even in this current funding year, our schools are $672 million or $700+ per pupil behind inflation from 2008.

Colorado ranks last in wage competitiveness for educators. The growing teacher crisis, as reflected by at least 3,000 teaching positions across Colorado being vacant, continues to be a serious challenge for a state that has one of the best economies in the nation. Teacher retirements and attrition are accelerating while the number of students completing teacher training programs is declining.

“NAACP is concerned with the failure to invest in education and lasting effects this will have on future generations,” said Joyce Brooks, Education Chair, NAACP-Colorado]. The inequities in school funding distributions impact our most vulnerable students the most as reflected in the growing achievement and opportunity gaps in Colorado that are among the largest in the U.S. Mental health and teen suicide rates are a top concern across the state.

The coalition appreciates the work underway by policymakers to address the school funding crisis and we appreciate the multiple challenges they must balance with state funding issues. We welcome the opportunity to work with legislators who are focused on finding solutions to address this growing crisis. Filing ballot initiatives allows the coalition to explore multiple options and to keep working toward a solution that will serve the 900,000 students who rely on Colorado schools to prepare students for college and career, as well as for productive, healthy and rewarding lives.

“Communities thrive and our economy grows when we invest in education,” stated Bret Miles, Executive Director for Northeast BOCES Association. “All children in Colorado deserve to receive an education that provides them the opportunity to achieve the American Dream and this requires vibrant public schools, learning opportunities for every student and the individual attention and support they need to thrive.”

For additional information, contact ballot initiative proponents Martha Olson Olson.martha@gmail.com or Donald Anderson djanderson17@gmail.com

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