RHONDA FIELDS, PAPA DIA: Vote ‘yes’ on 119 to help students recover from pandemic-driven learning loss

When it comes to providing quality educational opportunities for our students, we have an opportunity before us right now. Vote yes on Prop. 119.

Prop. 119, otherwise known as the Learning Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP), will help our kids catch up from pandemic-fueled learning loss by providing financial aid for after-school learning, tutoring, STEM activities, summer camps, and more from government-certified providers in Arapahoe, Adams, Denver, and Douglas counties. 

Papa Dia

Affluent families have the financial resources to pay for tutoring, foreign-language classes, and after-school sports. Low-income families do not. That is where the opportunity gap begins between the haves and have nots. 

Prop. 119 would provide $1,500 in annual financial aid per student for out-of-school instruction, with priority given to those whose family incomes are near or below the federal poverty level (about $26,000 for a family of four this year). We know additional education and tutoring services are an effective tool for closing the gap — but not everyone can afford or access them. Prop 119 helps take cost out of the picture. 

Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora

Consider this: Kids spend 80% of their waking hours outside the classroom. By offering financial aid for extracurricular activities, we’re developing young minds through social and academic learning that happens after the bell rings.

Prop. 119 is a first-of-its-kind measure developed by education experts from every corner of Colorado and has overwhelming bipartisan support. To be clear, financial aid cannot be used for tuition, vouchers, or anything else that could undermine our public schools. Additionally, Prop 119 does not funnel away money from Aurora’s public schools, it creates an entirely new program dedicated to out-of-classroom education.

We come to you now with a special sense of urgency. Colorado students, of all ages and in all subjects, experienced significant learning loss as a result of the pandemic. Despite the best efforts of our educators and parents, Colorado’s kids are falling behind. They need Prop 119 to sharpen their skills and add new ones to their educational toolbelt.

What makes Prop. 119 unique is the community-based education opportunities. In addition to school districts being pre-approved providers, families can select from a menu of enrichment programs, including career readiness, STEM classes, and dance lessons. Prop. 119 gives back to the Aurora community in more ways than one. 

In order to bring this all together, Prop. 119 would be funded by a 5 percentage point sales-tax increase on recreational marijuana and by repurposing a portion of revenues derived from leases, rents, and royalties paid for activities on state lands. At its core, Prop. 119 is a recreational marijuana tax to fund tutoring for Colorado’s K-12 students. 

Prop. 119 has drawn support from a bipartisan coalition of political leaders including former Govs. Bill Ritter and Bill Owens; U.S. Senator Mark Udall; Senator Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) Senator James Coleman (D-Denver); Steve Durham, Vice President of the Colorado State Board of Education, Gary Community Ventures CEO and former Senator Mike Johnston. The list goes on with support from educational organizations operating right in our communities including Servicios de la Raza, The African Leadership Group,  Boys and Girls Clubs across Colorado, The Dayton Opportunity Center, RESCHOOL Colorado, and Firefly Autism. 

Colorado kids can’t wait any longer for this type of educational support. We urge you to join us in voting yes on proposition 119 to help Aurora’s kids get back on track. 

Democratic Senator Rhonda Fields represents District 29 encompassing northern and central Aurora. Papa Dia is the CEO and Founder of The African Leadership Group, a non-profit organization advocacy organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for African immigrants and members of the diaspora.  

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None
1 month ago

Support police

denver_dad
1 month ago

Nope. Funding programs with a variable revenue source – like additional tax on marijuana sales – never makes sense. Witness our highways and their revenue base of gasoline tax. Or our parks with funding coming from gambling revenue. You can’t do multi-year project planning with a variable budget amount.

Plus, we do not need another education bureaucracy put in place. The ones we have have not done outstanding jobs. Why would we expect different results from a new one?

Finally, what would be the impact on our marijuana industry if burdened with additional taxes, totaling 25%? Consumers may very well look for less expensive (black market) ways to secure their recreational products.

Vote No.

Jano
Jano
1 month ago
Reply to  denver_dad

Voting no just because you spammed me!

Cellette Gipson
Cellette Gipson
1 month ago
Reply to  denver_dad

Exactly

Cellette Gipson
Cellette Gipson
1 month ago

So are you asking for us to vote for higher taxes to give our kids the same privileges. That other children already benefit from. With the tax money they are getting. So let me get this straight this increased tax money that you ask for us to vote for every season is not going to the poor children it is going to the priviled children so we need to raise tax money for our kids to receive the same privileges that we already pay for. So the high risk children are not getting the help they need which leaves them at risk to break into your houses or rob you which puts you at risk as well. Is this what I’m getting? Where is the weed money and the gambling money?

Julia
Julia
1 month ago

I’m in! When is the vote for Prop 119?

Laura
Laura
1 month ago

Voting no because you contacted me via text without my permission