These dollars are for schools.

[**UPDATE: May 1, 2015.  The Senate has given final approval to SB15-267, the School Finance Act, with an amendment (Section 5) stating the legislature’s intent that increased property tax revenue will be used for schools, rather than to help fund other parts of the budget.  Our thanks to the hundreds who wrote to their legislators asking that they support the amendment.**]

We just learned that there is $70 million more available to the legislature to spend on schools without cutting anything else in the budget.

Really.

Why? Because the value of property in Colorado is growing faster than the legislature expected when they set the budget. That means that local funding for schools will be $70 million higher than expected. (That’s the equivalent of more than 1,000 teachers.)

This is $70 million of revenue that is meant for schools. We think it should be spent on . . . well . . . schools.

This should be a no-brainer. Legislators often tell us there’s “nothing they can do” this year to pay down the debt we owe students. But now, because of a recovering housing market, there are additional dollars for school funding. We hope they’ll jump at this chance to help school districts hire more teachers, add back electives, and give kids more individual attention.

This is Great Ed’s last action for the 2015 legislative session — and it matters a lot.

We’re asking you to take 30 seconds to tell your legislators that you expect them to spend school property taxes on schools. Tell them that this is a vote you’ll remember.

If you haven’t contacted your legislators yet this year, now is the time. If you have, do it again.  Let’s be sure we don’t leave any money on the table when it comes to investing in our kids.

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