With a unanimous vote and strong words of support, the District 50 Board of Education passed a resolution Tuesday night encouraging the Colorado State Legislature to follow the lead of Colorado superintendents and spend more money on education, especially for “at risk” students and rural school districts.
The position statement, signed by 174 of the state’s 178 superintendents and sent to the Joint Budget Committee, asks the legislatures to support Governor John Hickenlooper’s proposed education budget which includes a $200 million increase. In addition, the superintendents are calling for an additional $50 million to be allocated for students who receive free and reduced meals and $20 million for small rural districts.
It also requests that local school board’s be allowed to determine how the money is spent.
Treasurer Ryan McCoy praised Superintendent Pam Swanson for helping to lead the fight for funding equity. “Thank you as a community member for pushing for more funding,” he said.
“The state funding formula is out of date,” said Board President Ruben Pacheco. “The last time we had an adjustment to the formula, there was no such thing as smart phones. The most important thing we do as a community is educate our kids and this is something we have taken for granted for too long.”
“I don’t think people realize how serious the education funding problem is in Colorado,” said Board Vice President Dino Valente, who told the audience that Colorado funds its students at a significantly lower rate than other states. “Our education system cannot continue to run on an empty tank,” adding, “it’s time for people to come together to form a solution. We need to get back into the ball game.”
The Colorado Legislature will likely determined final funding figures in May.