Band-Aid Measures Won’t Fix a Broken Funding System

Education Planning on February 7th, 2014 No Comments

Currently several measures are in the works to increase education funding for a variety of special programs.  One such measure, the Johnston-Hamner Bill (coined the “Student Success Act”), is earmarked for funding and backed by certain legislators and special interest groups.  But do these bills reflect what our school districts really need?  Though many of us would like to see more spent on education, the legislature and governor should be thinking longer term, including ways to increase reserves and fend off some of the expected shortfall that will transpire as soon as 2017.

As voters, we must not let these new bills distract us from the real problem:  Colorado’s school funding system is broken.  Compounding the issue is the fact that as a state, we are digging ourselves into a deep fiscal hole that will profoundly impact the future of education spending.  One way this self-defeating behavior is exemplified is through refunding health care provider fees.  According to the Colorado Futures Center, in just a few short years the State will begin refunding fees assessed by the health care provider tax, which was meant to offset rising Medicaid costs.  This refund will divert money from the State’s general fund, decreasing already inadequate funds available for K-12 education, roads and everything else.

Coloradans need to vote on an amendment that will rectify the three prior amendments that are causing so much trouble, particularly the TABOG amendment.  No, I didn’t misspell it; I did that on purpose.  The last letter should be a “G” for Goods, not Rights, because that’s what we got, a bill of goods.  Talk about lack of truth in advertising.  And most people still don’t understand it. Maybe we should all have to pass an exam on constitutional ballots before voting to prove an adequate understanding of each proposed amendment.  What a concept: adults taking tests to prove their acumen just like our kids!

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