Colorado voters rejected Amendment 73, a state-wide ballot measure that would have raised funds for public education by increasing taxes on the state’s highest earners. Colorado voters have a history of rejecting state-wide measures that would increase funding for public education. In 2013 voters rejected Amendment 66 which would have raised taxes to fund public education.
Amie Baca-Oehlert, President of the Colorado Education Association says that despite the defeat of 73, there was good news for public education in the mid-term elections. “We worked really hard to educate voters on the need for more funding here in Colorado and we moved the needle on this funding initiative. We got more voters voting for education, for funding initiatives last night than they have in the past, and so that’s progress.”
There were multiple candidates who had public education as a major part of their platform. “I think the voters spoke last night when they elected those candidates who said they want to fund our schools, they want to pay our educators, so we’re looking forward to working hand in hand with those elected officials so that we can do something about school funding here in Colorado and that we can ensure that our educators are paid well and are respected.”
Despite the wave of educators and public education advocates who were elected into state offices in Colorado, Baca-Oehlert says there is still work to do to pass a state wide education funding measure.
“We have a system where our students attend public schools and we have the haves and the have-nots. We have those communities where they have been able to pass the mill levy and those students have access to resources that students in the very next district don’t have because their community hasn’t been able to pass a mill levy. So we need to be able to get voters to understand that Colorado students no matter where they live deserve access to a quality public education system.”