New News is Bad News: Quality Counts report gives Colorado an ‘F’ on School Spending

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According to Education Week’s recently published Quality Counts 2020 Colorado’s school funding system is, well, failing.  Based on 2017 data, here are Colorado’s stats:

  • $3,033 below the national average in per pupil spending (was $2,703 in 2019)
  • 44th in per pupil funding (down from 41st in 2019)
  • 47th in the percent of taxable income spent on education (down from 43rd in 2019)

Let’s put that in context.

In 2017, Colorado’s economy was pumping along so strongly that US World & News Report named it #1 in the nation in its 2018 rankings.

In 2017, Colorado’s level of school funding was so poor that Education Week gave the state an “F” in School Spending in its 2020 Quality Counts report (based on 2017 data).  Colorado dropped from 41st to 44th in per pupil funding and from 43rd to 47th in funding effort (i.e., the percent of taxable resources spent on education).

Let that sink in.  Eight years into an economic recovery that was stronger here than almost anywhere in the nation, Colorado sank another $330 per pupil behind the national average to $3,033. Those numbers explain why Colorado has the highest percent of districts with a four-day week and has the least competitive teacher salaries in the nation.

Last week, the legislature passed a budget and school finance act that more than doubled the “Budget Stabilization” (or “B.S.”) factor, which represents how far behind Colorado is from just keeping up with inflation and growth from pre-Great Recession levels.  Worse yet, we know that, because of Colorado’s restrictive budget structure and the end of federal stimulus support, the second and third years after a recession are when the cuts are worst.  (The blue bars below represent the cuts in the years following the Great Recession in 2008-09.)

Just like after the Great Recession, these cuts will be permanent, unless we put Initiative 271, “Fair Tax Colorado” on the ballot and get it passed in November.

To protect our schools, teachers and students from permanent cuts, we must get Fair Tax Colorado on the ballot, and we need your help.  Find out how to sign and/or carry a petition here:

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  1. Sharon Ross on June 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    This is just appalling! There is no reason for this in a state that has so much going for it. Education must become one of our most important areas of focus moving forward. PLEASE serve people, not pockets, and find a way to do so fairly, NOW!

  2. Diane Schinkel on June 22, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Stop paying central administration the dollars that should be spent at the school level and putting so much money into athletics and aesthetics of the building and put the tax payer money where it needs to be. Students and teachers need those funds to actually go to our classrooms and students and running a building not luncheons, trips and conferences for the elite. Please help us help educate our students and stop the spending that has nothing to do with educating and raising our students. I hope this is not another…give feedback and back to status quo.

  3. Jan Saiz-Aragon on June 23, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    Despicable! Our state leaders should be ashamed! Sure let’s teachers know what you think of our hard work and the ability to turn on a dime and continue to teach during the pandemic! Let’s vote all these characters out of office!

  4. Barbara Haddock on June 24, 2020 at 12:25 am

    School bus driver 19 ,yrs.

  5. April Stutters on June 26, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Please increase funding to our public schools.

  6. Sharyn Madison on June 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    What does your teacher’s Union do for all of you hard working teachers?
    Where are the politicians who ran on “funding education” ?
    What is Governor Polis doing about this? I’d think he’d be embarrassed about it!

  7. Cornelia Maes on October 19, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    What happened to all the tax money on marijiuana? How about the tax money from the gambling casinos promised for education? Why are administrators making hundreds of thousands of dollars? Why are there more and more administrators while teachers are made to accept salary cuts ? Why is so much tax money going for buildings, computers, technology, sports and sports and sports? Why do we continue to pay for billionaire sports stadiums? Why is the CU football coach the highest paid Colorado employee – higher than our own Governor?
    There is a lot of money, but ultimately it doesn’t get funneled to teachers, students or education.

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