Gov., CEA officially kickoff campaign to increase investment in Colorado schools, students

CEA leaders turn out for the campaign launch

CEA leaders turn out for the campaign launch

Top leaders of the Colorado Education Association, from the Denver metro area to Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, gathered at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood, Aug. 15, for the official campaign launch for “Colorado Commits to Kids,” an education funding ballot initiative that will go before Colorado voters in November.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and other political and business leaders spoke at the campaign kickoff, explaining the necessity to increase Colorado’s investment in public education to give students the skills and tools they need to compete for jobs, achieve their potential and make a better life.

CEA Pres. Kerrie Dallman thanks Gov. Hickenlooper for his support of Colorado Commits to Kids

CEA Pres. Kerrie Dallman thanks Gov. Hickenlooper for his support of Colorado Commits to Kids

Hickenlooper called the initiative “the single-most comprehensive education reform initiative in the history of the United States” during his remarks.

“We’re not going to get anywhere without an educated workforce. Colorado has got to be ready to have those jobs filled in the 21st Century,” Hickenlooper said about the impact increased education funding would have on energy, aerospace and other sectors that drive our economy. “With the Colorado Commits to Kids initiative, we get to build a better Colorado for our students, for our families, for our businesses, and for every future generation that’s going to come after us.”

The “Colorado Commits to Kids” ballot initiative would generate $950 million annually to improve public education under the provisions of the Future School Finance Act (Senate Bill 213). The State Legislature passed and Hickenlooper signed SB 213 in May to bring badly needed resources to our public school system. Over the past five years, lawmakers cut more than $1 billion from our schools and Colorado now spends $2,000 less per student than the national average.

SB 213 begins to address the shortfalls by overhauling a school funding system that has not changed in nearly 20 years. In his remarks, Garcia highlighted some of the benefits of SB 213, which calls for increased funding for all students with targeted resources to students who need help the most: at-risk preschool, full-day kindergarten, special education and gifted and talented, and English- language learners.

Lt. Gov. Garcia speaks at the kickoff for the ballot initiative campaign

Lt. Gov. Garcia speaks at the kickoff for the ballot initiative campaign

“We know that not all kids enter school on equal footing. We know that not all kids speak the same language at home. We know that not all kids have books in the home. We know that not all kids make the same progress when they show up at school,” said Garcia. “If we want kids to graduate and all be ready for higher education, we need to make sure we can provide the level of individualized support that most district cannot now afford to offer. That’s what is key, and it’s key not just for those students, but for the long-term good of this state.”

Two days later, CEA held a statewide leader conference in Denver to plan how its Local Associations will reach out to members and voters with the facts on “Colorado Commits to Kids.” 

CEA VP Amie Baca-Oehlert reviews campaign materials that show how "Colorado Commits to Kids" funding will better serve all students in all communities.

CEA VP Amie Baca-Oehlert reviews campaign materials that show how “Colorado Commits to Kids” funding will better serve all students in all communities

At the conference, more than 70 leaders and staff affirmed “We’re All In” on passing the ballot measure and engaged in table discussions on how educators can drive voter support in their communities. They reviewed the success of the summer signature drive, in which CEA leaders, members and staff collected more than 19,400 signatures toward putting the initiative on the November statewide ballot, and they looked at ways to engage more CEA members to become involved in the campaign.

“This is about our students,” CEA President Kerrie Dallman told the conference participants. “A lot of us have talked over the last several years about the importance of taking action on social justice issues. I can’t think of an issue more important to us and our organization than the future of our kids and the investment in our kids’ future. Securing their future is exactly what these dollars are going to do.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: