Colorado Ranked Dead Last

A handful of public education advocates in Colorado and across the nation have been screaming about funding for years now. Us included. Perhaps our voices have become white noise?

The list goes on and that doesn’t even include education associations.

This list also is not all inclusive, just a few…

News organizations are talking about it.

“A recent study from the Education Law Center, a group that advocates for more school funding, ranked Colorado dead last in the competitiveness of its teacher salaries. The typical 25-year-old teacher at the beginning of her career in Colorado makes just 69 percent of what her peers with similar education levels who work similar hours earn.”

“But another is that they don’t earn much, even for teachers. The National Education Association’s annual ranking of the states put Colorado in 46th place for teacher pay in 2016, with an average annual salary of $46,155. In contrast, teachers in Wyoming, which ranks 16th for teacher pay, earned an average annual salary of $58,140, a hair below the national average and roughly equivalent to the salaries earned by other college-educated professionals there.”

“At the same time, the cost of living in urban districts is going up. A recent study found that starting teachers in three of the state’s largest districts, including Denver, could not afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Meanwhile, in Colorado’s rural districts, superintendents often share stories of teachers who leave for other states – or for jobs at big box stores that pay more.”

In Jeffco alone, we have a 16 page document to describe and explain public school finance and the funding for our schools.

Our superintendents have worked and compromised for four years to restructure the school finance provision that was implemented in 1994. And 96% of the superintendents in our 178 district state have come to an agreement. Our legislators haven’t even passed their bill, HB1232, out of committee yet – they can’t get to 51% yet the 96% of school experts DO agree. Come on legislature! That’s just silly!

When we talk about educators (and this includes classified staff such as bus drivers, paras, custodians, facility managers, and security personnel who are woefully underfunded with many qualifying for financial assistance), we are talking about highly trained, highly educated, and well-qualified industry professionals. Even our principals and administrators have been leaving in droves due to funding and so many unfunded mandates that the job takes over their personal lives. The funding going to our schools includes approximately 80% of the budget for employees, because PEOPLE are teaching our children. So when education funding is this low, that means fewer staff and reduced salaries.

Something has to give. We’re negatively impacting our children when we do this to our education staff.

Make sure you have signed a petition (even carry your own) and are sharing information. If we want change, we have to join in the effort.