Following is our SJK Testimony on HB20-1204, we encourage you to email these legislators as well!
Thank you Madame Chair and committee members. 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.
We strongly oppose House Bill 20-1204.
We hold, as a basic principle, that public, taxpayer dollars for public education must stay in public schools; and that our students who choose public schools be funded adequately and equitably, with sustainable funds, which is a goal our state has yet to accomplish.
We oppose any tool used for privatizing public education such as the income tax deductions for private school scholarship/tuition expenses provided for in House Bill 1204. An even greater threat to our ability to fund public education is that the new income tax deduction allowed in HB1204 will encourage additional contributions for these private school scholarships/tuitions.
“Back-door Vouchers” such as House Bill 1204, are nothing more than a school voucher program that allows for public school dollars to be diverted to private school programs or used for tuition for private and/or religious schools, but in a less conspicuous manner.
This is Colorado, the land of TABOR, afterall. Surplus dollars in the General Fund are an anomaly, limited, and, as in this year, there are always competing priorities for those dollars.
As elected officials, you are the stewards of our taxpayer dollars. It is your responsibility to protect and fund our public entities and infrastructure such as PreK-12 public education first.
This week we celebrate Public Schools Week. Your vote on this bill is a reflection of your values. We hope that means your values include your continued support for public education, and a NO vote on HB20-1204.