Good News/Bad News Colorado’s 2020 Ballot Measures

The results of the November 2020 election for statewide ballot measures proved to be a mixed bag.  Those of us watching how the results impact public education and school funding have found a few things to celebrate, but we foresee a cliff in the not too distant future.

  • New funding is temporary and extremely limited. The Prop EE (Nicotine Tax) funding designated for rural schools and going into the state education fund have a 3 year limit, creating a cliff when these dollars cease to exist.
    • Plus, when you are addressing a hole in school funding as big as Colorado’s $1.17 Billion, while much appreciated, it does nothing to actually “fix” our funding problem.  
  • We crossed our fingers that Amendment B would pass, and thankfully it did – but let’s remember passing Amendment B means no new funding, only that we now won’t lose funding for our schools and local services.
  • Governor Polis Proposed Budget designating one-time funds that would bring our B.S. Factor down to $572 million  (which is where we were January 2019, as we started the last Legislative Session) from our current $1.17 Billion in an effort to ease the stress on school districts as they continue to struggle with the added expenses of COVID-19, which seems to be getting worse rather than better.
    • It’s important to point out this is the Governor’s Proposed Budget Looming big over whether this will actually happen is the fact that Proposition 116 passed and is effective for this 2020 tax year. Reducing the General Fund revenue by $78.1 million in the current FY2019-20.