SSSD: Legislature Must Reimburse and Fully Fund Public Education
At the March 28 board meeting, the Steamboat Springs School Board unanimously approved a resolution supporting sustainable and equitable funding for Colorado’s public education. The resolution, sent to our state legislature, state officials and the governor, calls for the elimination of the fiscal stabilizer factor by 2023, repayment of the $9.7 billion owed to public schools since 2009 and a legislative commitment to fully restore education funding in the future. budgets.
SSSD owes $28.8 million and this year alone, $1.8 million. Decisions made at the state level have huge financial implications for our district budget. As we approach the budget process for the 2022-2023 school year, we want our community to be aware of the challenges of funding schools and the context behind the numbers.
Since 2009, elected officials have balanced the state budget on the backs of Colorado students. Due to the fiscal stabilization factor, Colorado ranks abysmal in education funding. Colorado’s public education funding per student ranks 43rd when adjusted for regional cost differences and 45th based on the percentage of state wealth spent on education.
In 2019, Colorado was $2,158 below the national average for spending per student, resulting in poor conditions, large class sizes, outdated textbooks, and understaffed schools. Research confirms that the primary school-related factor for student success is the quality of teachers. Still, Colorado ranks 49th in competitive teacher compensation. Before the COVID pandemic, Colorado was already experiencing a shortage of educators. With rising housing costs, increases in the cost of living and a myriad of other factors negatively affecting our teachers’ ability to stay engaged in their work, we face a real problem in attracting and retaining staff. essential to the success of our students in school.
Additionally, insufficient funding has contributed to the huge conflict in negotiating compensation, which is inadequate for our teachers who live in one of Colorado’s most expensive communities. Adequate funding for public education is an urgent statewide concern to support our teachers and staff – the cornerstone of student success in Colorado. We encourage you to reach out to your state’s governor and legislative officials to support our valued educators.
Lara Craig, Kim Brack, Chresta Brinkman and Katy Lee
Steamboat Springs School District School Board