Year Two of Deep K-12 Budget Cuts Announced

The Denver Post reports today that the Governor will include a cut of somewhere between 4.4% and 6% to K-12 funding this year.

Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to propose cutting state funding to public schools by as much as 6 percent in the 2010-11 budget he rolls out today.

That’s a scenario the administration has considered, though Ritter officials say the cuts are likely to be closer to a 4.4 percent, or a $250 million, net decrease in total funding given to schools compared with the current budget year.

Education groups have said the move could violate Amendment 23, which requires education funding to increase every year by at least the rate of inflation.

Conservatively, that will average a cut of about $300 per child below this year’s budget — and $400 less per child than what the traditional interpretation of Amendment 23 would require.   The cuts follow a number of school years when districts throughout the state have already been through a number of budget scrubbing and slashing cycles.

Notably, the Governor is also looking at the other side of the ledger — revenue enhancers:

The governor today also is expected to propose some kind of revenue-generating measures in his 2010-11 budget that could include eliminating or reducing some of the nearly $2 billion annually in tax credits and exemptions the state allows.

“If we don’t eliminate some of those credits, it’s just more money we would have to cut from education, either higher ed or K-12,” Ritter said Thursday.

Colorado is already $1397 behind the national average in school funding and 49th in higher ed funding.  With no end to cuts in sight, the question is — how much must our children’s education suffer before Colorado takes bold action to protect and promote their future?

Take action today.

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