Over the past several months, school superintendents across Colorado have been working in partnership with school boards and community groups to call attention to the dire public school funding issues that plague our state. We strongly believe that our students, our communities, and our educators should receive the supports and compensation they deserve.
Since April 16, 2018, we have seen teachers and other educators in school districts around the state take action to fight for fair and equitable state funding. Teachers wearing “Red for Ed,” walking into schools together, and rallying at the state capitol are among some of those more visible actions. We are seeing more school districts needing to amend student contact days as teachers take unpaid, personal and annual leave in calling attention to widely shared concerns with regard to school funding in Colorado.
As superintendents representing districts that have closed for a day, will be closing for a day, or at some point will see large scale teacher actions occurring in support of increased school funding in Colorado, we would like to offer the following information for your consideration:
- Colorado currently ranks 42nd in the nation in per pupil funding.
- In Colorado, we fund our students at an average of $2,500 per student less than the
national average – not the upper end of the scale – average.
- Only two states, Oklahoma and Arizona, spend less than Colorado on services for
students with special needs.
- Despite constitutional protections designed to protect public school funding in Colorado,
public schools have been underfunded by billions of dollars since 2008.
- Teacher salaries in Colorado are below the national average by 15.2%.
- 95% of teacher salaries are below the standard of living in rural Colorado.
- Colorado is experiencing a significant teacher shortage. This is compounded in that
close to 20% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, citing low pay
and low public regard as two leading reasons for leaving the profession.
- It is estimated that there is close to $18 billion in school construction needs
across the state.
Our teachers’ voices deserve to be heard in the fight for fair and equitable state funding. We honor our teachers, and all of the educators who serve our students and our communities each day. As they take action over the next several days, and into the future, we urge parents and all concerned Coloradans to contact state legislators to ask them to increase funding for K-12 education in Colorado. Along with educators, your voice matters, and your calls and emails make a difference at the Capitol.