The 2013 Colorado Legislative Session just ended. What happened and where do we go from here?
Almost one year ago, Great Education Colorado and a couple dozen organizations set a goal for the General Assembly: make 2013 the Year of the Student.
Today, the Year of the Student coaltion includes 170 organizations and 9,500+ individuals and the 2013 legislative session has drawn to a close.
So what happened?
Because of the Year of the Student coalition’s efforts, students will be much better off next year than they were this year, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
This year, legislators were deluged like never before with constituent contacts about education funding. And, for the first time in years, education funding was a focal point of legislative debate and action. And the outcomes?
- $30 million increase for higher ed
- 15% increase in Special Education
- Estimated $200 million additional deposit in the State Education Fund
- 3,200 new preschool slots
- Opportunity for a statewide ballot initiative to increase P-12 funding.
Still on the extensive to do list:
- K-12 funding is still $1 billion below inflation and enrollment growth since 2009 and even farther behind what’s necessary to ensure all students can meet standards and succeed.
- Thousands of eligible children still have no access to preschool.
- Only one state provides less support for higher ed per capita than Colorado.
Of course, 2013 isn’t over and there are still opportunities for progress. It’s likely that voters will have the chance in November to make a substantial down-payment on the funding needed to provide all students with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.
And Great Ed will continue to build on this year’s success and support legislators in their long-term efforts to do right by students.
We’ve come so far this year; but we can’t let up in the long term fight to create a education funding system that enables all students to succeed. So stay tuned.
Thanks for all you do to make progress possible and sustainable.