The Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Monday, August 27 in support of Amendment 73, the ballot measure that would provide more equitable funding for school districts in Colorado.
“The simple fact is, we are underfunding education,” said school board Director Michael Mathews, who has five children in District 6 schools. “It’s not just bad for kids, it’s bad for everyone. I wholeheartedly support this, not just for my kids and other’s kids, but for the community.”
The Board of Education Resolution cites the shortage of qualified teachers, the low per-pupil state funding in Colorado as compared to other states, and the loss of $177 million in funding in District 6 since 2009, due to the Legislature pulling back money through the Budget Stabilization Factor, previously known as the Negative Factor.
Amendment 73 would raise an additional $1.6 billion to fund public education in Colorado. The money would be raised through a graduated income tax increase for residents with a federal taxable income greater than $150,000, through a 1.37 percent tax increase for large corporations and by freezing the residential assessment rate for property, which is the third lowest in the United States. It would also lower the property assessment rate for commercial property from 29 percent to 24 percent on the portion of taxes paid to education, giving tax relief to businesses throughout Colorado. It is estimated about 8 percent of Colorado residents would pay the increased income tax.
Amendment 73 would change the way education dollars are distributed by providing additional funding for students who take more resources to educate, including students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, students identified as gifted and talented, students learning English and students who qualify for special education services. It would also provide full funding for all-day Kindergarten, as well as create a stable and sustainable funding source for public schools in Colorado.
Ultimately, local districts will have control over how the additional revenue is spent. District 6 will receive an estimated $38.5 million in additional funding annually if Amendment 73 is approved in November.
The resolution states that if Amendment 73 passes, the Board of Education commits to focusing on these priorities:
- Hire additional teachers to lower student-teacher ratio
- Expand job training opportunities and workforce readiness training for students
- Enhance safety and security by adding personnel, utilizing technology and addressing structural needs, such as school entryways
- Support the social and emotional needs for a student at all levels
- Hire, train and retain quality staff: teachers, administrators and hourly employees
- Address deferred maintenance and deficiencies at facilities throughout the district
For more information on Amendment 73, visit www.greatschoolsthrivingcommunities.org.