All kids in Colorado should have a fair shake at success

Testimony to the Colorado School Finance Interim Committee, Jan. 8, 2018

I oppose any changes to the Colorado School Finance Act or public school funding in Colorado that would use public, taxpayer dollars for vouchers, tax credits, or Education Savings Accounts. As the mother of a student who graduated from a Denver Public High School, a mentor of a student at a DPS Pathway School, and a neighbor of a school which has been recently shut down (and replaced with a charter school), I am bothered that HB1340 explicitly and intentionally excluded any study or consideration of adequate funding for all students in public schools. So far, the Colorado School Finance Interim Committee (authorized by HB 1340) has largely focused on student count, at-risk students and students with special needs. These are important issues; however, the discussion should have a broader, holistic focus. It should encompass equitable and adequate funding of our public education system that meets the needs of all students. Our legislature has refused to address the under funding of Colorado’s public school students. Our public school students are funded at $2,685 per student below the national average (adjusted for regional cost differences) [Ed Week, 2017 Quality Counts]. Any discussion that excludes adequacy and does not address funding of all students in all schools is simply a discussion of re-shuffling the current problem of inadequate funding. It’s simple: all kids in Colorado should have a fair shake at success, which means equal opportunity in education. And it shouldn’t be up to the whims of investors to decide what that looks like. Do not use taxpayer dollars to pay for private education through tax credits, vouchers or education savings accounts.

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