CEA Statement: Shocking JBC Assessment Demands Bold Legislative Action to Save Public Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2020

DENVER – Statement from Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association, on assessment from the Joint Budget Committee that K-12 public schools could lose additional $577 million or more:

“Students who will have more academic and mental health needs when they return to school cannot be expected to grow and thrive under the public education cuts proposed by the Joint Budget Committee. It’s unfathomable that Colorado could withhold $1.15 billion in a single school year — the largest Budget Stabilization Factor ever — from students who are experiencing trauma from a pandemic and from an education system that has already suffered from more than $8 billion in cuts over the last decade.

“Legislators know our school districts cannot count on the one-time $500 million in federal funds for their day-to-day operating expenses. The Legislature must return next week ready to pass the emergency tax provision in TABOR to provide immediate school revenue and tax relief for 95% of Coloradans. Legislators should pause the costly accountability system and eliminate other areas of K-12 spending that do not help our students thrive. The Legislature must be prepared to make cuts to other departments so that our students and educators are not once again bearing the majority of the burden.

“Coloradans support raising revenue for schools, not cutting resources. CEA’s new public polling reveals that most voters ranked K-12 public school funding as one of the last areas to cut. When offered possible options to close the state’s budget shortfall, 81% of voters preferred increasing taxes over cutting public school funding, with 68% preferring to increase taxes only on those making more than $250,000. All Coloradans can make their voice heard by demanding our senators in Washington pass the HEROES Act for state budget relief, and by encouraging their family, friends and neighbors to support Fair Tax Colorado for a fair tax policy for all. Voters must approve Initiative #271 in Election 2020 so our students, educators and public schools don’t continue to suffer from yet more devastating budget cuts.”

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