Rep Kennedy Highlights Issues and Impending Cuts

Our students are back to school this morning after a nice winter break! Thank you to all staff for your care for our children and all of the work we know you did over break!

Now, back to business!

An email received this morning from House Representative Chris Kennedy highlights something we should ALL be concerned about. Here’s the quote:

 Colorado is in a very unique situation because of Constitutional constraints on our budget. As many of you know, Colorado is the only state in the U.S. in which the legislature doesn’t have the authority to raise taxes. Furthermore, our budget is restricted by a growth cap that doesn’t keep pace with the needs of our growing state. So, even as we grow our economy, we’re unable to adequately fund our public schools, transportation infrastructure, and other priorities. Furthermore, the rapid growth of home values has put the Gallagher amendment into effect for the first time since 2003. Essentially, this means we’re forced to reduce residential property taxes in a way that will cut education funding by $178M at a time when the state is already far short of it’s obligation to K-12.”

Representative Kennedy goes on with this:

“While we will certainly be searching for legislative solutions to many of these problems, some of them can only be addressed by amending the Constitution, which is now much more difficult because of the passage of Amendment 71. In the short term, that means Colorado will be making budget cuts.”

This should concern every person in Colorado. Our public schools are the cornerstone of our democracy. They impact our economy, our property values, our children and their futures, our workforce, and our own futures. Not investing in education now, and more importantly, FURTHER cuts to education for the children in our schools will impact all of our futures.

There have been a couple Republican legislators working toward a hopeful nonpartisan collaboration and starting the talk about the negative impacts to transportation issues due to state funding, which is a nice start to a conversation in Colorado. In fact, the transportation issues were highlighted years ago in the TBD Colorado conversations that occurred around the state to educate Colorado citizens and obtain feedback. Transportation funding is very important and critical to safety but so are more than 800,000 students in our schools and the many other issues and services our state budget covers.

Think about it this way, education funding impacts students who will eventually be the individuals holding today’s jobs and caring for the State of Colorado in the future. Do you want a doctor or caregiver who is pretty good and is decent at care or do you want a highly qualified person serving you in the future?

What do you want for YOUR children if you’re no longer around to care for them? Highly educated and highly qualified or good enough?

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