Gas money for schools

Regardless of what happens in today’s election with a statewide ballot measure and a local one, both aimed at providing a short-term funding boost for schools, long-term funding for K–12 and higher education in Colorado will remain problematic.

That’s why 3rd District Rep. Scott Tipton’s proposal is so intriguing — to increase the states’ share of federal mineral leasing funds and direct that money to education.

It makes far more sense than legislation sponsored by two Utah lawmakers that would simply give 5 percent of the federal land in Western states to those states to sell or lease for education. Such a plan could take large swaths of federal land out of public ownership, or make them unavailable for public access.

Tipton’s plan wouldn’t change the ownership or management of any federal lands. It would simply change the way money obtained from mineral development on those lands is distributed.

There are questions to be answered, such as how Tipton’s proposal would affect federal oversight of oil and gas development.

Still, it is an idea worth further study.


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