New News is Bad News: Quality Counts report gives Colorado an ‘F’ on School Spending
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: https://fairtaxcolorado.org/sign-a-petition
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