As a retired educator who taught at Aspen Elementary School for 20 years, I am writing to urge you to vote yes on Amendment 73. Colorado has been underfunding public education for many years and the impact on our schools has been devastating, especially in rural and less affluent communities. Many districts have cut back to four-day weeks and others have had to cut academic programs or increase class sizes.
Despite a booming economy, Colorado ranks 47th in per-pupil funding and we now claim the dubious distinction of having the least competitive teacher salaries in the country. Because of this gap we are unable to attract qualified educators and there are currently 3,000 teaching positions that are unfilled across the state.
Amendment 73 would address this problem by creating a dedicated, stable, and equitable funding base for all students, regardless of what school district they attend. This would be accomplished through a modest, graduated tax increase on incomes above $150,000 and on corporations. Though 92 percent of Coloradans would not pay any additional tax, all Colorado students would benefit, and each school district would decide how to spend the money, based on local needs.
I firmly believe that public education is the foundation of our democracy. Whether you have children in our public schools or not, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that the next generation of Americans is well-educated and prepared for the future. Please say yes to Amendment 73.