CEA media release: Educators and Parents: Proposition 117 Gets an ‘F’ for “Foolish”

October 27, 2020

Educators and Parents: Proposition 117 Gets an ‘F’ for “Foolish”

Leading Education Advocates Urge Colorado Voters to Reject 117

DENVER – Educators, parents, and education advocates are raising concerns about Proposition 117, a confusing and vague proposal on the 2020 ballot. The ballot question restricts the use of state enterprises, which include unemployment insurance and college savings accounts, and jeopardizes funding for essential programs. If 117 passes, state legislators would be forced to ransack the state budget and slash current funding for education to pay for other critical services.

“Our schools are underfunded by billions of dollars in Colorado. Yet, this year we are once again under attack. Proposition 117 creates needless risk and instability for Colorado. If 117 passes, big business will enjoy large savings as they make taxpayers pay for the services they use for things like their emission violations. Unlike the special interests backing this effort, we believe supporting Colorado’s families and children should be a bigger priority than lining the pockets of special interests. Prop 117 puts Colorado on a glide path toward more devastating budget cuts that will take much needed resources away from classrooms and educators, hurting our students and families,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association.

For decades, Colorado’s students and parents have dealt with the brunt of special interests and big businesses hijacking the state budget for their own bottom line. Now they’re back again, in the middle of a pandemic, as families wrestle with the challenges of remote learning, to try and pull a fast one on Colorado voters with Proposition 117.

“School districts are once again being asked to do more with less. We are working to keep students and teachers safe during a pandemic, trying to meet critical needs in our schools and communities and now this measure could create more risk and chaos in our budget. We can’t absorb any more– we need voters to reject Proposition 117” said Monica Johnson president of the Colorado Association of School Executives.

“Children and families feel the brunt of the current economic crisis, from a lack of internet access to the loss of key programs providing child care, after-school care, and nutrition. Proposition 117 will add nothing but risk and uncertainty to our state’s ability to fill these gaps,” said Kelly Causey, president and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign.

Proposition 117 is before voters this election and would require voter approval for any enterprise that generates over $100 million in the first five years. Enterprises fund government programs through fees for goods and services, including programs like unemployment insurance, Parks & Wildlife, and college savings accounts. Without enterprise funds, Colorado lawmakers would need to cut future programs like these and look to the already stretched general fund for resources to fund critical programs.