Editor: Simply put, Proposition 119 is misleading and self-serving.
It raises taxes and then under the promise of providing aid to education, creates a new government bureaucracy with no standards, no controls, and no accountability and will spend and waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. It creates a self-appointed board with no oversight or transparency and gives it the authority – not your local school board – the ability to decide what programs get funded, where the programs are located, and which students get the money. Although the tax revenues are collected locally, there is no guarantee that the money will fund local programs or that it will be spent equally or equitably across the state. Moreover, it takes an additional $70 million over the next 10 years from Colorado’s K-12 funding to pay for out-of-school programs. These cuts will reduce teacher salaries and provide less money for school supplies, transportation, and school renovations.
Proposition 119 allows its unelected and self-appointed board of trustees to spend twice as much on administrative salaries and overhead as it takes to run the entire State of Colorado Department of Education. The annual administrative budget of the Authority, ($10.9M) is nearly twice the annual administrative budget of the entire Colorado Department of Education, ($5.79M FY 2021-2022). In the future, the Authority can spend up to 10% of its annual budget on administrative costs.
Proposition 119 misleads the voters by saying that the revenue raised through this proposition will be utilized to help low-income children improve their academic performance. In fact, it only does so for the first year. After year one of its implementation, all students regardless of economic stature can access these dollars. It also allows public money to be directed to private out-of-school service providers (including religious based schools) instead of investing it directly into public schools. If voters want to raise taxes for education, the revenue would be better used to expand the capacity of public schools in every community, keeping the money under local control and allowing them to reinstate programs they have had to cut and to provide additional learning and enrichment opportunities for children.
— Sen. Chris Kolker, via [email protected]
State Senator Chris Kolker is from Centennial and represents Senate District 27.