Much has been made of the dismal state of education in Colorado, in particular with respect to the lack of funding. It is one of the driving arguments behind Referendum C. I, too, believe that a solid education is indispensable to economic growth. Unfortunately, Referendum C doesn’t provide that. Referendum C is, in short, a blank check made out to the politicians in Denver. There is no specific mechanism to provide more funding to education, it really is just a politician’s promise.
Amendment 23 already provides substantial funding for education in Colorado, plus the approximately $200 million that was allotted to Colorado schools in the last budget (over and above Amendment 23 guarantees). Moreover, education spending increases every year.
If we are to believe that the state needs the additional $4 billion, Referendum C is not the way to get it done. The Legislature should return in January and actually pare this request. Then members should make a compelling case with specifics on which programs are under-funded and will be restored to levels that can be agreed upon, versus this blank check that only increases the size of government.