Great Futures 2010
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Great Futures 2010



A short presentation about Colorado's investment in education Preschool through Higher Education and what you can do to help change the current direction we are headed!

A short presentation about Colorado's investment in education Preschool through Higher Education and what you can do to help change the current direction we are headed!



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  • Thank you for your interest in the Great Futures Colorado campaign. This power point is designed to provide information on the following topics: -Is Colorado investing in our children’s future? -How does Colorado compare to the rest of the nation in school funding? -Why is Colorado’s investment so dismal, and -What can we do to improve Colorado’s investment in its schools, colleges and universities?
  • What do we want for our kids? This is a question we seldom ask anymore. Years of cuts have shifted the paradigm from - how do we create a public education system of excellence - to how can we keep the basics in light of more and more cuts. This paradigm is particularly disturbing given the fact Colorado is one of the wealthier states in the country. We are #13 in per capita income. (Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade). Yet, one out of 6 Colorado children are now living in poverty, and we have the fastest growing child poverty rate in nation. (US Census Bureau 2007-2008) Between 2000 and 2007, there was an 84% increase in children living in poverty. (Children’s Campaign, May 2009 - Census data). And looking specifically at education-
  • Colorado is 42nd in the country in per pupil funding (adjusted for regional cost differences) and worse when it comes to higher ed. (National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). These statistics provide a snapshot of Colorado’s investment in its most precious resource - our children. Education should provide our children the necessary skills and tools to compete in the 21st global economy. Failure to do so has huge social and economic costs including the continued cycle of poverty, a greater dependency on social services, and high incarceration rates. Let’s take a closer look at how Colorado’s support of public education compares to the rest of the country, and why it is so dismal.
  • This graph shows how Colorado compares to the rest of the nation in school funding over the past 30 years. It’s really a tale about the three Amendments and their impact on the availability of resources for our schools and kids. The black line represents the national average on per-pupil funding. The red line is where Colorado stands in per pupil spending as compared to the national average. Notice the interaction of these amendments. Gallagher and TABOR in particular, have resulted in the precipitous decline in Colorado’s funding in comparison to the national average. And this only shows the most recent comparable data available between states (2007), which is before the current economic downturn and the half billion dollars in cuts that K-12 is facing and steep cuts (and likely tuition increases) that higher education currently faces. The next slide gives a short explanation of each Amendment:
  • The Gallagher Amendment’s goal was to reduce property taxes and it was very successful in doing so. Property taxes used to be the major source for education funding, but Gallagher, combined with the passage of a subsequent amendment known as TABOR (Tax Payer’s Bill of Rights), changed all that. Now it is the State’s general fund that is the major source of funding for our schools, and it has had to replace revenue lost in local property taxes. Currently, K-12 funding accounts for about 42 percent of Colorado ’ s General Fund budget. TABOR is the most restrictive spending limitation on any state in the country. It has constrained the state ’ s ability to keep and use the revenue it collects for the general fund, which has ever increasing demands placed upon it. As a result, the state doesn ’ t have the resources to invest in education, let alone other critical services such as health care, transportation, prisons, and higher education. In 2000, Amendment 23 was passed as an attempt to thwart the downward spiral in education funding. Amendment 23 requires the state to increase school funding each year for 10 years by 1% plus inflation. Though it is hard to imagine what would have happened if Amendment 23 didn’t pass, the chart shows Colorado continues to fall further and further behind the rest of the country. Today, Amendment 23 has returned Colorado to the level of funding in 1989 in real dollars. Bottom line - the voters of Colorado approved a series of constitutional amendments which are now combining to bankrupt the state government. Rather than allow our elected legislators to negotiate a wise compromise on the state ’ s competing fiscal needs, the voters have tied the hands of their elected officials. As a result, none of the services we expect from our government are adequately funded, and the recession has only aggravated this situation. As a result, our schools are facing unprecedented cuts in funding. The fiscal policies of the past 28 years have prevented the state from adequately investing in K-12 education, higher education and other critical state services. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking better in the immediate future. In fact, they look worse. Until we as a state, vote to change the way we budget and fund our schools, Colorado can expect to fall further and further behind the rest of the nation.
  • Projected cuts in state aid to K-12 education next school year keep rising, and school administrators fear they will get even bigger. The current estimate is a 7.5% cut, amounting to a whopping $431 million below what current law would require. These cuts will affect the classroom and many other components of a quality education. Throughout the state, districts are forced to consider closing schools; laying off teachers; increasing class size; cutting programs; reducing, eliminating or charging for transportation; implementing fees for a variety of activities, reducing teacher benefits, and more. Clearly, the cuts to K-12 and higher education will affect the quality of children’s education. Not only is the future of our economy dependent on a well educated and skilled workforce, but as Representative Pommer (D-Boulder) on the Joint Budget Committee noted, 5,000 Colorado teachers may lose their jobs because of these funding cuts. And looking at Colorado’s support of higher education-
  • ©2008 The National Center For Public Policy and Higher Education: Measuring Up 2008 How low can Colorado’s higher education funding go? Not much lower. We are 48th in higher ed funding (per capita) or 49th (per $1,000 of income).
  • From The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), Measuring Up 2008 Under a plan introduced by Gov. Bill Ritter, Colorado’s colleges and universities would see 40 percent budget cuts this year completely backfilled by money from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The catch, however, is that dipping so deeply into stimulus money accelerates the depletion of federal dollars that higher education officials were counting on to last several years. As a result, Governor Ritter has proposed a 9% increase in tuition making college even more unaffordable from many Colorado families. The future of education funding remains even bleaker. Minority Enrollment Gap Comparison Source: NCHSM 2008 Measuring Up Report Card: “ Performance Gaps: There is a 17% gap between whites and all minorities in the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college, which is one of the largest gaps in the United States. ” MEASURING UP 2008 THE STATE REPORT CARD ON HIGHER EDUCATION (pdf).
  • In 2011: -The federal stimulus dollars that helped prevent even more drastic cuts in K-12 and higher education all disappear. Without these dollars, Colorado’s higher education system faces unprecedented cuts. As a result, t he Governor is proposing another 9 percent tuition increase for Colorado resident students, making higher education unaffordable for many Colorado students. -Referendum C ends. This gave the state a 5 year timeout from TABOR’s revenue and spending restrictions. Though it won’t have an immediate affect on Colorado’s fiscal quagmire, predications are it will within 3 or 4 years. -Amendment 23’s 1% yearly increase ends in 2011. However, because of the recent interpretation of Amendment 23, millions and millions of dollars will be cut from K-12 in 2009 and 2010, thus effectively nullifying Amendment 23’s 1% boost. The crisis this state faces is real and frightening.
  • It is important to stress that MORE money in and of itself, is NOT the GOAL. However, in order to provide our children with an education that prepares them for the 21st century global economy, resources are critically important. Wise and increased investment is a necessary means to achieving the goal of an excellent system of public education. Over and over we hear communities tell us that the items on this slide are crucial to educating our students. Though this slide does not contain a complete list of things that would give our kids the opportunity to succeed, we can all agree that they are critically important and require a significant investment.
  • Spread the word and tell your story: Informing others about the causes and impact of our school finance crisis is a necessary first step. -Arrange a speaking opportunity for a Great Ed presentation. -Tell your story on our interactive map: . On the right side of the map is a petition you can sign that will go to state leaders in March. The petition combined with the stories, will help our legislators see the full impact of budget cuts on Colorado's students . Sign the pledge and stay informed: . The pledge is a tool designed to unite public school supporters and prepare them for eventual options at the ballot that will provide the long term solution to Colorado’s funding problems. And by signing the pledge, you will stay informed through Great Ed’s electronic newsletters and action alerts. Donate $10 to the Great Futures Campaign : Donate online here:

Great Futures 2010 Great Futures 2010 Presentation Transcript

  • Great Futures Start with a Great Education Winter/Spring 2010
  • What Do We Want For Our Kids? Is Colorado Investing In Our Children’s Future?
  • How is Colorado doing?
    • 40 th in per pupil funding (42 nd adjusted for cost of living)
    • $1,397 below the national average in per pupil spending ($1,919 adjusted for cost of living)
    • 42nd/46th in poverty gap measures
    • 42nd in pupil to teacher ratio
    • 41 st in technology in our schools
    • $0 for teacher professional development
  • Why the gap?
    • Gallagher: lowers personal property taxes which was once the major source of school funding. Now it’s the state.
    • TABOR: limits growth of state and local revenues. Result - state can’t fund increasing demands.
    • Amendment 23: State must increase school funding by inflation + 1% thru 2011, though obliterated in 2009.
    Gallagher, TABOR and Amendment 23
    • 7.5% cut below current law
    • $431 million below current law
    • In excess of $500 per pupil cut
    2010-11 Estimated Statewide K-12 Budget Cuts
    • What do we want for our kids?
    • {Optional: Discussion Element}
    Colorado: 48th Higher Ed Funding (per capita) How low can higher ed go? *** ***
  • Colorado and Higher Education
    • 2009-10: $56 million cut. Federal stimulus $$ prevented far worse.
    • 2010-11: Federal $$ gone. Drastic cuts. Offset in part by tuition increase.
    • 30% of family income already pays for 4 year college.
    • 17% gap between whites and minorities enrolled in college (18-24 year olds) - one of largest in U.S.
    • If no gap: $10 billion more in personal income
  • 2011
    • Expiration of :
    • Federal Stimulus Funds
    • Referendum C
    • Amendment 23
    • (effectively expired this year)
    • Individual attention/smaller classes
    • Highly qualified/effective teachers
    • Updated technology & textbooks
    • Well-rounded curriculum
    • Pre-School & Full Day Kindergarten
    • An affordable higher education system producing a skilled workforce.
    More Money is Not the Goal But it is the Means
    • What Can We Do?
    • Spread the word and tell your story. (
    • Sign the pledge. (
    • Stay informed through Great
    • Education Colorado.
  • Liane Morrison Executive Director Great Education Colorado 303-722-5901 [email_address] For More Information