In the News
FAITH LEADERS FROM ACROSS COLORADO ENDORSE, URGE VOTERS TO SUPPORT AMENDMENT 73
Denver - Colorado faith leaders from diverse religious traditions have come together to endorse Amendment 73, the ballot initiative to help Colorado’s critically underfunded schools.
Faith endorsers of Amendment 73 include the Colorado Council of Churches, Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, Together Colorado, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, and the National Council of Jewish Women, Colorado.
In the first public poll results released on these issues, 58 percent of respondents said they would vote yes for Amendment 73, which would raise taxes on individuals making more than $150,000 a year and corporations. Because it’s a constitutional amendment, it needs 55 percent to pass.
The Eisenhower Tunnel was too difficult, so we didn’t build it.
Horsetooth Reservoir was too challenging, so we passed.
OK. No, we didn’t punt on these challenges. We figured out how to do them.
All sorts of audacious things have made Colorado what it is – the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, I-70, C-470, Denver International Airport.
So, what’s with the weak-kneed equivocations on Amendment 73, a crucial initiative to address the serious deficit faced by Colorado public schools? Opponents say it’s “too complicated.” Hardly. More on that claim in a moment, however.
"This is an economic development strategy we've never seen in this state," Miles said, explaining this money will help schools be able to hire more people again, when they've been cutting for years, and those people will do business in the community. Plus, by providing competitive wages school employees will be able to purchase more goods and services in the community.
Amendment 73 will provide $3.7 million annually for RE-1 Valley, $0.6 million for Merino, $0.5 million for Fleming and $0.4 million for Peetz. To raise that same amount of funding those districts would have to pass mill levy overrides of 18.2 mills (last year RE-1 asked for 2 mills), 26.1 mills, 11.9 mills and 6.8 mills respectively.
If you're tired of seeing your tax dollars go to Denver, only to see a portion of them return to this community, Amendment 73 is for you. We're big on this education funding measure for the simple fact that it will generate millions in extra funding for area public schools and reduce property taxes at the same time. That's a win for this part of the state.
Amendment 73 fits squarely within the Sentinel editorial board's view that the state must do better at shifting resources to the rural areas of the state that aren't booming. Despite having one of the best economies in the country, per-student funding in Colorado trails the national average by about $2,800 per student.
Amendment 73 would eat into that differential by shifting the tax burden to those in a better position to afford it. It would establish progressive income tax so that the state's wealthiest earners — about 8 percent of tax filers statewide — would pay more. But some of that increase would be offset by property tax relief. (Check out the Amendment 73 Impact calculator at cosfp.org.)
New tax proposals should always be considered through the lens of skepticism.
We are convinced that — so far as is possible — individuals and businesses should keep the fruits of their labor, and taxation, by its definition, belies that principal, taking money from the pockets of those who earned it and diverting that money to uses individual earners may or may not support.
But, at the same time, we recognize we are social creatures; our very survival depends upon how well we can work together, and individual well-being is generally enhanced by ensuring the collective good.
The bottom line is, there are some necessities we can accomplish only through a group effort, and educating our children is among those necessities.
So, while it is prudent to relentlessly question and vet any new tax proposal, it is equally prudent to enact taxes that work to elevate us all.
SENTINEL ENDORSEMENT: Don’t fall for false arguments against Amendment 73 — it’s a fair, realistic way to fund needy schools
The argument proponents are making for Amendment 73 — raising taxes for schools — is about improving a deficient public education system. The argument critics are making against the measure are glaring red herrings.
Don’t be fooled by specious arguments that voting for a measure that raises taxes only on the state’s wealthier and wealthiest residents has anything to do with firefighters and library districts. It’s a ruse.
There are numerous politicians and pundits who are proud that Colorado chronically spends less on public education than almost any other state in the nation. It’s unsurprising they would either be confused by or congenitally opposed to a measure that raises corporate and some income taxes to boost school spending.
The embarrassment of how we mishandle public education in Colorado has long been the dark side of this sunny state. For years, actually decades, state lawmakers have been unwilling or unable to adequately fund our public schools.
Amendment 73 leverages Colorado’s strong economy to benefit our communities by asking the highest earners and “C” corporations, to contribute more to Colorado’s public schools, the cornerstone of our democracy.
Here’s how some Colorado school districts would spend their share of a $1.6 billion tax hike for education
If Colorado voters this November approve a $1.6 billion tax increase to benefit schools, several metro-area districts are pledging to spend part of their share to boost teacher pay.
Raising teacher salaries is an idea that’s gaining political popularity, fueled by teacher protests around the country and here in Colorado, where education funding is below the national average and several recent studies have found teachers are dramatically underpaid.
School boards in at least 70 of the state’s 178 school districts – including Denver, Aurora, Jeffco, Adams 14, Westminster, and Sheridan – have passed resolutions in support of the statewide tax increase, called Amendment 73. Some have also specified what their districts would spend the money on.
SALIDA, Colo. — Retired English teacher Annette Barber sat reminiscing on a bench outside her rural southeastern Colorado hometown's first schoolhouse, a red-brick building out of a storybook, erected in Crowley a century ago.
Barber and her husband Jerry, who grew up in a nearby town, graduated from the University of Northern Colorado's teaching program. They worked in communities across Colorado before returning to Crowley. Barber recalled small-district superintendents were eager to hire them both.
"They thought, 'If we get a couple, they'll stay,'" says Barber, who taught her last years before retirement in Crowley, a district with fewer than 500 students.
Some 30 years after the Barbers were first hired, superintendents still struggle to lure teachers to remote, isolated towns on Colorado's eastern plains, western ranchlands or in mountain hamlets, says Harvey Rude, founder of the Colorado Center for Rural Education. Programs at the center, which is focused on finding ways to address the teacher shortages, include distributing state-funded stipends of $2,800 each to college students who train in rural districts and commit to teaching in such districts for at least three years.