SJK Testimony Supporting HB20-1149

My name is Jonna Levine. I am Co-chair/Co-founder of Support Jeffco Kids.  Our focus is on the importance of supporting public education for ALL 86,000 plus kids in Jeffco, the 2nd largest school district in the state.

Support Jeffco Kids supports House Bill 20-1149 and we urge you to do the same.

We believe this bill is an investment in our democracy for generations to come.  Youth who are civically-engaged are also more likely to stay engaged throughout adulthood.  Expanding the voting age to 16 may increase participation rates of voters 18+ over time.  Research suggests that casting a ballot at 16 or 17 could develop a lifelong habit.

Students are experts in their own education and the way policies impact them, and they should be able to make their expertise heard and felt by voting in school races, not just being invited to another advisory group.  They currently have little to no representation in how school policies or curriculum are shaped, yet they bare the impacts of them daily.

Students shouldn’t be the only voice in the conversation, but they shouldn’t be the only voices kept out.  Voting in school elections will provide deeper motivation to feel ownership, agency, and responsibility over one’s schools and education.

Just last week, more than 100 students from across the state, all members of Colorado Youth Congress visited legislators at the State Capitol to lobby for more/better funding for their public schools.  This is a prime example of our young people demonstrating their readiness to participate in our democracy.

We support House Bill 20-1149, we strongly urge you to support House Bill 1149 today.

Thank you