HB1375 Results and Thanks

A note of thanks to a few legislators for listening. Jeffco (and really all of Colorado) is comprised of 1/3 Republicans, 1/3 Democrats, and 1/3 Unaffiliated voters.

Our children are none of the above. Education is supposed to be a nonpartisan issue.

Now we also know it’s funded by tax dollars and it is truly the most expensive part of our state budget because it costs money to have real human beings caring and educating over 900,000 children. We know there’s one party that is just opposed to taxes currently, not all registered with the party agree with that but they do desire fiscal conservatism and oversight in use of tax dollars. We agree with that as well.

With the funding so short for education in Colorado and with Jeffco not making a significant investment in our schools for the past 12 (almost 13 years), funding is especially crucial in Jeffco. Now, HB1375 passed (which was really just a dressed up SB61, which we opposed) and is being called a “compromise” which we believe couldn’t be further from the truth. In all honesty, it diverts funding from some of our neediest and most neglected populations in other areas of the state.

There were some who voted for ALL children in this situation and we hope you’ll join us in thanking them!

From our Senate:

  • Senator Merrifield
  • Senator Todd
  • Jeffco’s Senator Andy Kerr
  • Senator Jones

From our House:

  • Representative Arndt
  • Representative KC Becker
  • Representative Benavidez
  • Jeffco’s Representative Jessie Danielson
  • Representative Esgar
  • Representative Exum
  • Representative Foote
  • Representative Ginal
  • Representative Hooten
  • Representative Jackson
  • Jeffco’s Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp
  • Representative Lebsock
  • Representative Melton
  • Representative Salazar
  • Representative Singer
  • Representative Valdez
  • Representative Weissman
  • Representative Wilson
  • Representative Winter

http://leg.colorado.gov/content/hb17-1375vote61fca7

Education funding just isn’t as simple as giving the exact same amount to every child. Mill levy and bond initiatives should be an issue of local control at the district level. The state issues funding for each child in each district differently based on an entire list of factors that constitute the negative factor. It’s ridiculous to think that “the same” equals equity and then turn around and fund districts in a completely different way, ignoring all the “negative factors.” Rural students, special education students, gifted students, free and reduced lunch students, and English learners all require additional funding. However, the funding varies depending upon the percentage of those groups, how many students are enrolled, the local economy of the district, etc. There’s just no such thing as equal and you can’t use equal and call it equitable. It would be unethical for those of us in Jeffco to demand another district receive less funding so we could have more; it’s the same tiny pie we’re taking funds from, no one is giving us extra pie. Some rural districts don’t even have the capacity to attempt mill and bond initiatives.

As a side note, many of those House Reps who supported 1375 will tell you they thought it was a good compromise because it succeeded in “neutralizing” the opposition to SB61. They voted for it not because they supported it, but rather because they just didn’t think it was as bad.  Legislation that will impact our children’s future shouldn’t be supported because it “wasn’t as bad, or a compromise to a bad bill.”   We need our legislators to be thoughtful, and sometimes really brave, when they vote on legislation that will have a lasting effect on our children’s futures.

We’ve continued to hear from many parents and educators about this and so many are absolutely furious that HB1375 passed and their voices weren’t heard. The bill had opposition from major stakeholders throughout the state – parents and educators. Also, many were quite upset that the bill was introduced so late and pushed through so fast, constituents were not given the opportunity to participate in action. We also agree with this, during May, (the busiest month of the school year) it’s nearly impossible for anyone actually involved in education to add one more thing to the calendar.

While the votes weren’t enough for a win, the legislators listed above should be thanked and appreciated. They listened to constituents, recognized the stakeholders, and valued our children.

Good job, friends!

Next stop, fixing school funding for ALL children in Colorado!