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Inaction is no longer an option! Read more than 1,000 P-20 education cuts stories from across Colorado telling the devastating impacts of cuts to Pre-school, K-12, and Higher Education.

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March 24, 2010



Diverse Coalition Asks Legislators: “Let Voters DECIDE to Support Education in Colorado”


New “Great Futures Colorado” Coalition Proposes Referred Measure to Give Voters a Say in Preventing Deep Cuts to Public Schools and Higher Education

DENVER – A diverse coalition of public education supporters today called on the Colorado General Assembly to give voters the chance to prevent and reverse crippling cuts to Colorado’s schools, colleges and universities.

The Great Futures Colorado Campaign, a new coalition of nonpartisan, community organizations (see list below), unveiled their proposal for a referred measure for the November 2010 ballot at a State Capitol press conference on Wednesday. Known as “DECIDE” (“Decide: Education Cuts or Invest in our Democracy and Economy”), the proposal would give the legislature options to balance the budget other than deep cuts to education.

“Right now, the legislature has only one tool for balancing the budget, and that’s cutting education,” said Andrew Bateman, Chairman of the Associated Students of Colorado, a Great Futures coalition member.  “Colorado voters have made it clear that we want to support education. We’re just asking for a chance to DECIDE if there’s a better way to balance the budget.”

“It’s the urgency of the matter that brings us here today and we’ve got to get this issue on the table and start talking about the solutions,” said Ricardo Martinez, Co-Director of Padres Unidos, a coalition member.  “Inaction is no longer an option.”

If referred to the voters in November, DECIDE would ask voters to give the legislature authority to raise revenues to prevent and reverse cuts to preschool, K-12 and higher education, as well as to make critical investments in school improvement efforts, class size reduction, technology, teacher effectiveness, safe schools and other education priorities – all while being held accountable by voters.

Using an interactive map that includes video and stories of local parents, teachers and concerned citizens, Great Futures coalition members highlighted the urgency of the school funding crisis.  “We’ve heard heartfelt stories from every corner of Colorado,” said Kristi Hargrove who is a small business owner, Great Education Colorado board member and Gunnison School District parent. “Whether it’s the loss of beloved teachers, increased class sizes, the closing of schools, unaffordable tuition, or the adoption of a four-day week, we hear the same message over and over: These cuts will have an irreversible impact on our kids, and we’ve got to do something now to pull Colorado back from the brink.”

The legislature is currently considering a budget that will result in cuts of 6-8% in most school districts.  Even before these cuts, Colorado’s per pupil funding had fallen far behind the national average – $1,397 per pupil behind the national average in 2007, the most recent data available.  Likewise, Colorado’s state and local per capita spending on higher education ranks 48th in the nation.

“Enough is enough,” said Colorado PTA President Lynn Huizing in a prepared statement. “Colorado PTA is sending a message to state legislators that our citizens care about educating our kids. We’re asking them to seek a long-term solution now. Don’t make this the ‘lost generation.’ Our kids can’t redo kindergarten, 6th grade or their high-school senior year. ”

Great Futures coalition members noted that it’s not just students who will face lasting harm from the cuts, but Colorado’s economy as well.  “Crippling cuts to public education will result in thousands of job losses, skyrocketing tuition, less educational opportunities, and a less-prepared workforce.  Unless we act soon, how will our economy recover?” asked Denver City Councilwoman Carol Boigon, chair of Great Education Colorado.

DECIDE is expected to be introduced this week by Representative Debbie Benefield of Arvada. “Our number one goal in this building has to be investing in the future of our kids and our economy,” said Benefield.  “We simply can’t do that right now.  Our hands are tied and our kids are paying the price.”

Benefield noted the legislature has enacted laws over the years that create unfunded mandates for districts, as well as education-related programs that are to be funded by “gifts, grants and donations.”  “We’re committed to improving education in Colorado, but we are stymied at every turn by the lack of resources to implement reforms and make them successful.”

Photos, videos, and more information from the Press Conference will be available upon request.



The Great Futures Colorado Campaign is a coalition of community organizations formed in January 2010 to educate about and advocate for implementation of, and adequate funding for, an education system that will prepare all children for the challenges of the 21st century. For more information, visit




Associated Students of Colorado, Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented, Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented, Colorado Council of Churches, Colorado School Foundations Association, Colorado PTA, Colorado Rural Schools Caucus, Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, Every Child Matters, Great Education Colorado, Impact on Education, Justice and Peace Ministry Team – Rocky Mountain Conference United Church of Christ, Kyffin Elementary PTA, Padres Unidos, Partnership for Families and Children, Wickerdale Walkers, and Women Informed Network.

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