State lawmakers to tour speaking on school-funding tax
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Colorado lawmakers sponsoring a measure changing the way public schools are financed are going around the state to explain a tax ballot proposal that is before voters this fall.
Representatives from school districts around Glenwood Springs have been invited to meet with state Sen. Mike Johnston and Rep. Millie Hamner on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
The proposed tax would raise nearly $1 billion a year for educational system upgrades, including expanded kindergarten and preschool, and more attention for disabled students and students learning English.
The meeting is intended to help school officials learn more about Amendment 66, which is officially on the Nov. 5 ballot, as local school boards consider taking positions on the proposal.
“We certainly intend to hold other informational meetings in the near future, where both sides are presented and where people can have an opportunity to ask questions,” Glenwood Springs School District Re-1 Superintendent Diana Sirko said.
Johnston and Hamner were the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 213, which passed the state Legislature and was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in May.
Amendment 66 is the follow-up funding question being put to the state’s voters. It proposes a tiered increase in the state income tax, depending on a person’s income level, in order to raise approximately $1 billion annually to fund the new school-finance formula.
The measure is aimed at cleaning up some of the conflicts in state tax policies affecting funding to local school districts.
In addition to ensuring an equal share of funding for poorer, rural school districts, it would also increase funding for the state preschool program, language programs and special education, and fund full-day kindergarten in school districts across the state.
Under the provisions of the legislation, the state has through 2017 to come up with funding for the new school-finance law.