School funds resolution softened

After some tweaking, District 51’s School Board on Tuesday became the 11th district board of education in the state to adopt a resolution urging Colorado lawmakers to spend the 2013 legislative session searching for education funding.

Colorado non-partisan group Great Education Colorado is urging boards and organizations across the state to pass resolutions proclaiming 2013 as the “Year of the Student” and asking the 69th General Assembly to prioritize funding to help schools implement statewide education reforms. The District 51 School Board was scheduled to vote on a “Year of the Student” resolution last month, but board members Ann Tisue and Jeff Leany said they felt uncomfortable with some of the language in the resolution draft provided by Great Education Colorado.

“I think some of the slanting of the language about funding doesn’t sit well with me,” Tisue said at the board’s Sept. 18 meeting.

“The language needs to be tweaked because it won’t get a yes from me” as written, Leany responded.

School Board Vice President Leslie Kiesler said at the September meeting the resolution shows support but is non-binding and does not address specific measures, such as new taxes.

“We’re not saying with the resolution this is written in blood. The wording is kind of a moot point. We’re just saying we support Great Education Colorado,” Kiesler said.

The version adopted Tuesday eliminates four paragraphs from the original draft and part of a sentence. The lines removed mention Colorado funding per student was $1,809 below the national average pre-recession and that the Great Recession resulted in more than $3 billion in cuts to public and higher education funding between 2009-10 and 2012-13 in Colorado. Removed sentences also state federal and local funding cannot overcome state cuts, budget cuts make it hard for District 51 to implement all proper education strategies, and “the need to reverse the impact of cuts is urgent.”

The remaining seven-paragraph resolution leaves in statements about public education aiding democracy, Colorado schools benefitting from new investments to help implement mandates, and students not being able to wait one more year for cuts in personnel and programs to be restored.

“I’d still feel more comfortable if there was something that said we weren’t encouraging the legislature to be fiscally irresponsible,” Tisue said before the board adopted the new resolution unanimously.

Kiesler said the “watered-down” resolution will be sent with others adopted by boards to the legislature with other materials from Great Education Colorado.


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I’m amused that Tisue thinks the Colorado legislature would be fiscally irresponsible, since the body has years of experience balancing a budget every year within the contstraints of TABOR. This school board is a little like the tail trying to wag the dog when it comes to Colorado’s funding for schools. They must have missed the comment by CU’s chancellor indicating that he was appointing a committee to find new ways of funding for his university because at the current rate, and given TABOR constraints, there will be zero zip nada no money for education in the Colorado budget 10 years from now. Education in Colorado is in crisis, even if our local school board members can’t see it.

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