As a parent of an elementary school child, a passionate believer in quality public education and a committed community member of Eagle County, I urge all Colorado voters to support Amendment 66 education finance reform bill by Nov. 5. Amendment 66 is asking voters to approve an income tax increase to raise money for P-12 education, while still keeping Colorado’s tax burden among the lowest in the country. Amendment 66 would raise $950 million for our public schools and cost the average Colorado family $133 per year or 36 cents a day.
In the past three years, the state has cut a drastic $14 million from Eagle County School District’s budget, and statewide there has been more than a $1 billion in budget cuts. We’ve all seen the results of these cuts: limited bussing and transportation, outdated technology, contact time cut in the arts and other vital programming, and growing classroom sizes. I’ve personally witnessed my son’s class grow to 34 students this year. Yet, through all of these cuts, Eagle County School District continues to provide and sustain quality education to all our children and we continue to close the achievement gap with limited funding.
The passage of Amendment 66 would mean an additional $4.3 million annually to Eagle County schools that could be used on smaller classroom sizes, improved technology, transportation and teacher retention. Statewide, Colorado schools would also see smaller class sizes translating to more one-on-one time between teachers and students, increased support for gifted/ talented, English language learners and at-risk students. Early childhood education would also be strengthened by providing increased access to preschool for at-risk kids and free full day kindergarten.
Amendment 66 would stimulate our economy. The evidence is in the research that businesses and companies are attracted to states where the education system is well funded and has the necessary resources for the youth to be prepared and educated to join the workforce. This impact results in more jobs and higher wages.
The time is now to invest in our children and our Colorado community. I encourage you to vote yes on Amendment 66 by Nov. 5 and be part of the solution so that every child in Eagle County and Colorado has the necessary resources to succeed and our communities will continue to thrive.
This year’s election is a mail-in ballot only. Expect to see your ballot in the mail in the next few weeks. For more information on Amendment 66, please visit www.efec.org or www.coloradocommitstokids.com.
Education Foundation of Eagle County trustee