Sometimes good intentions get in the way of actual progress.
That’s exactly what happened when Amendment 73 authors got together to draft a very expensive $1.6 billion tax hike proposal: An initiative that fails to meet the needs of students and teachers.
Now, proponents of the measure want Colorado voters to drink the Kool-Aid.
They’re asking us to approve a measure that misses the mark to deliver better educational opportunities, while also creating serious safety concerns for students and our communities.
Keep our Schools Safe: Amendment 73 is nothing more than a Robbing Peter to Pay Paul initiative designed to divert funds away from first responders and emergency medical personnel to finance public education.
“Amendment 73 would defund local services just as we need better roads and bridges. It would reduce revenues for fire districts as wildfires pose increasing devastation. It would financially stress public health agencies dealing with increasing suicide rates, aging populations and an opioid crisis.” The Gazette, 9.9.18
Colorado school kids deserve solid educational opportunities. Most agree teachers need to be better compensated for their important work.
Yet, while this measure seeks to elevate per-pupil funding it also means:
No guarantees the new money will reach the classroom.
No assurance of greater teacher compensation.
No promise of increasing graduation rates
Top Heavy? During the past six school years, P-12 Colorado public education staffing increased by 14,517 new jobs; of which only 33% were new teachers. At the same time, the number of students has grown by 56,015. For every 3.9 students, Colorado’s education system added one new staff member.
According to the National Education Association, Colorado currently ranks 27th in per-pupil expenditures yet we rank 43rd in percentage of spending on instruction. Most will find it interesting Colorado ranks 5th in the nation on administration costs (US Census Education Finance data).
How will the $$$ be spent? Further clouding the massive middle class and business tax hike are three pieces of legislation (’04, 06, 18) already passed to bolster the pubic employees pension fund (PERA). The combined increases equate to $645 per-pupil already. There is no assurance taxes raised from Amendment 73 will not be used to backfill the limping PERA to pay down the unfunded liabilities.
Amendment 73’s consequences are too costly. It holds no guarantees for teachers or improving student educational opportunities. And, it robs our first responders of the resources necessary to keep our schools and communities safe.
Vote No on 73. It’s bad for everyone.
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