FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 1, 2019
CEA Statement on Governor’s Proposed State Budget
DENVER – Statement from Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, on public education funding in Gov. Polis’ proposed state budget for FY 2020-21:
“Educators are disappointed to see such minimal progress toward eliminating the budget stabilization factor, the ongoing cut to our public schools and students. The proposed $40 million reduction amounts to only $44 per student, doesn’t provide even half of the factor reduction achieved in the legislature last year, and sadly keeps a cut for 2020-21 school year above half-a-billion dollars. The Colorado economy continues to blaze ahead even as students sit in class sizes way too large, without adequate mental health supports, and while their teachers still work two or three jobs to make ends meet.
“CEA members applaud new funding allocated to school safety, school climate and behavioral health. We are seeing a significant increase in the mental health struggles of students and educators, and we are pleased to see those supports in the Governor’s budget. Still, districts will operate next year with a $532 million hole in their budgets while the state’s withholding of public school funding – funding that is mandated in the Colorado Constitution – creeps toward $9 billion since the Great Recession. This budget barely moves the needle on state investment that lags $2,700 behind the national average in per-pupil funding and marks us for the national embarrassment of owning the least competitive teacher pay in the country.
“More than 17,000 educators demonstrated at the Capitol about 18 months ago, shutting down districts across the state, as we demanded adequate resources to do our jobs and meet our students’ needs. Three educator strikes have followed. Frustrations are boiling over and CEA members are actively speaking out about how underfunding from the state impacts our students and our professions. Colorado can’t ignore the professionals who work with students every day and who want nothing more than great learning opportunities for all students.
“It is not acceptable that we still have a half-a-billion dollar hole in public education when we have the strongest economy in the country. CEA will soon release our view on the state of education in Colorado and our priorities to fix a crippled education system and deliver the schools our students deserve. The Governor’s budget is a starting point and we urge our legislators to do more to support our students and our educators with significant buy down of the BS factor. We look forward to working with Gov. Polis and legislature to improve the critical investments Colorado makes in our students and their futures.”