Media Release: Open Letter to State Leaders

Education advocacy organizations release guiding principles

Open letter to state leaders provides guidance and asks for bold, visionary leadership in addressing the funding crisis

DENVEROctober 28, 2016—Fifteen organizations representing diverse and broad stakeholders signed an open letter to Governor Hickenlooper, Colorado legislators and state board of education members. Issued before the Governor introduces the 2017-18 budget next week, the letter calls attention to the funding crisis in Colorado where cuts to public education continue at the same time our state has one of the strongest economies in the country. Education advocates are deeply worried about the ongoing education-funding crisis in Colorado and the resulting consequences to our state’s future.

“Education is the bedrock of our strength as a state and I’m concerned our failure to invest in education will have lasting effects on children and on our state,” explains Colorado PTA President Cindy Daisley. “Parents don’t understand why they need to fundraise to pay for basic supplies. Colorado PTA signed this letter to convey the magnitude and urgency of this growing problem facing Colorado schools.”

Declining revenue to schools has resulted in:

  • Growing inequities across school districts as demonstrated by the recent wave of local mill levy elections;
  • Colorado ranking last in the nation in providing a competitive wage for teachers;
  • 49% of school districts being on or having at least one school on a four-day school week; and
  • Students losing out on educational options and opportunities.

“Communities thrive and our economy grows when we invest in education,” stated Lisa Weil, Executive Director for Great Education Colorado. “All children in Colorado deserve to receive an education that provides them the opportunity to achieve the American Dream and this requires vibrant public schools, learning opportunities for every student and the individual attention and support they need to thrive.”

Another organization signing onto the letter, NAACP CO MT WY State-Area Conference, has a long history of vigorous fighting for educational equity for all students and adequate funding to ensure that educational improvement is ongoing. Dr. Joyce Brooks, Education Chair for NAACP – Denver Branch, explains, “We implore the Governor and all Colorado legislators to lead the way by funding public education in Colorado. Our students deserve world class schools in order to compete with students throughout the USA and the world.”

The list of organizations signing onto this open letter include: American Federation of Teachers-Colorado; The Arc of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties; Coloradans for Educational Excellence; Colorado Education Association; Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy and Research Organization; Colorado Council of Churches; Colorado Parent Teacher Association; Colorado School Finance Project; Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition; Great Education Colorado; NAACP CO MT WY State-Area Conference; Padres Unidos; Project VOYCE; Support Jeffco Kids; and the Urban League of Metropolitan Denver.

To read the letter and view the most current list of individuals and organizations signing onto the letter visit www.greateducation.org/open-letter/.


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