Opinion: Oppose Amendment 73

September 20, 2018

Contact: Ken Witt, Executive Director, Education reEnvisioned BOCES, 720.383.4536

Opinion on Education reEnvisioned BOCES Resolution Opposing Proposed Amendment 73

Colorado Springs, CO – Tuesday night, the board of directors of Education reEnvisioned BOCES passed a resolution opposing Amendment 73, which will appear on the 2018 ballot.

A73 attempts to change the state constitution to take more education finance authority away from communities. This deeply flawed ballot initiative is designed to enact a massive income tax hike of $1.6 billion dollars completely outside the constitutional provisions of Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) while veiling the attempt in a proposal to increase school funding via the new Quality Education Fund. The measure undermines the voters of local school districts, consolidating more education taxation at the state level, rather than respecting the Colorado commitment to local control.

Amendment 73 goes so far as to say that the education funds shall be used for purposes that will be specified by law. This measure takes school district money that was previously available for each district to use as needed, and redirects money through the state, with restrictions on how some of the money may be used. “This is not the kind of education funding change Colorado’s schools need. It is a thinly veiled attempt to pass an outrageous tax hike with the promise of a paltry increase in education funding with too many strings attached. It ignores the unique education priorities and undermines the values of our diverse communities across the state,” stated Ken Witt, executive director of the Education reEnvisioned BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services).

Colorado has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, and so state and local revenues, including funds for public education, have significantly increased in the past two years. “The fact that K12 education funding has grown the past two years is contrary to the story line used by many politically active district and state-wide organizations to support their ‘more money’ mantra. The state must do a better job of prioritizing education funding, rather than yet again asking for an even bigger share of the income that taxpayers earn,” Ken Witt went on to say. “The state has spent billions of dollars for expansion of health and social services, while simultaneously saying there just isn’t enough money for education and transportation.”

Amendment 23 already specifies a generous funding mechanism for education, and local communities can pass mill levies to increase education funding when the voters in the community so desire. In fact, a record amount of money in local education tax initiatives (mill levy overrides) appear on this year’s ballots, in addition to the proposed Amendment 73.

This initiative is trying to take local education control and accountability away from our communities. This greedy amendment will do little for education while doing much harm to Colorado taxpayers.

Executive Director