Educators get out the vote for A73

Educators commit to knocking doors Saturdays through Election Day, asking voter support for A73 school funding ballot measure

In the remaining weekends between now and Election Day, Nov. 6, many Colorado educators will use their time off school to walk in more communities to reach voters about the need to pass Amendment 73 for funding the schools our students deserve.

About 50 volunteers gathered Saturday, Oct. 13, at Newton Middle School in Littleton to canvass local neighborhoods to gain support for #YesOnAmendment73 and the local 4-A bond campaign for new school construction. The group included Nancy Souther, a retired teacher of 39 years in the classroom.

“We believe in Littleton Public Schools, it’s a fabulous district,” Souther said before her neighborhood walk. “These funding initiatives are going to be very helpful to our district. We desperately need more resources for staff, students and families.”

Souther was joined by her daughter Megan Souther, a teacher at Peabody Elementary who wants to see class sizes reduced so she can provide more individualized instruction for her students. The district lost about 100 teachers after massive state budget cuts began around 2009 and haven’t been able to bring any of those teachers back. “Littleton does a good job in trying to keep class sizes as low as possible, but funding from A73 would really help with that.”

“We feel like our students deserve the best,” added Julie Tombari, a kindergarten paraprofessional at Peabody. “Moving forward, we want to provide the mental health supports our students need and deserve along with new buildings and good class sizes for the next generation.”

Walks were also held that day in Bayfield, Colorado Springs, Gunnison and Jefferson County among others, part of CEA’s #RedForEd October activities for Election 2018 supporting Amendment 73, local funding measures, and pro-public education candidates running for state office. A few thousand educators held rallies in more than 25 communities, Oct. 5. Back in April, more than 17,000 Colorado educators demonstrated at the State Capitol, joining the #RedForEd movement for student resources and educator respect seen in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and other states.

“It’s important for voters to put a face to the issues,” said Jesse Andrews on why she volunteered her Saturday to walk neighborhoods with her colleague Ilka Omdahl. Both teachers are Littleton Education Association members at Newton Middle School. They met several very supportive families that morning who pledged their support for a #YesOnAmendment73 vote.

“Having teachers come to the door is helpful because we bring a different perspective to the issues we’re trying to fix,” added Jesse’s husband, Tom Andrews, a teacher at Goddard Middle School. “We can answer questions about how funding changes can impact our classrooms.”