Amendment 73: Voters to decide on education funding

(Source: MGN Online)

DENVER (KKTV) - A heated issue regarding the future of statewide education funding will soon be decided on during the upcoming election.

Amendment 73 is estimated to raise $1.6 billion for funding for preschool through 12th grade. It would do that by raising the income tax rate for people who make more than $150,000. It would also raise the corporate income tax rate.

“It's a fair way to raise taxes, and the dollars are going to be spent on things that are high priorities," Lisa Weil, with the group Great Education Colorado, told the Associated Press.

According to AP, similar ballot measures failed in 2011 and 2013.

Supporters argue the state needs more money for education to make up for funding cuts after the 2008 recession. As a result of those budget cuts, school districts have limited teacher salaries, increased class sizes and narrowed course offerings.

Opponents say Amendment 73 won’t fix the funding problem because the real problem is the funding structure.

“What we need to do is re-evaluate the formula. We need to work on the funding formula and drive more money into the classroom,” said Colorado State Rep. Paul Lundeen. “We need to pay teachers better, is what we need to do. Sadly, Amendment 73 doesn’t speak to that and would not necessarily do that.”

He said there’s no guarantee the money would help teachers or students.

“It would just pour more money into a broken formula that is sending money other than where it needs to go,” Lundeen said.

The measure needs at least 55 percent of the vote to pass. Polls are open in El Paso County from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. All ballots need to be turned in by Tuesday at 7 p.m.