9/18/2020 – What will it take?

In the midst of everything else we are juggling, the 2020 elections are quickly approaching.

We know you have heard this year after year, but the stakes this year are high. The 2020 election is incredibly important to the balance of our pro-public education future. Elections impact your classrooms in many different ways—from funding and testing to workload and time. If we all do a little (even one shift phone banking or one afternoon dropping lit) we can make a big impact.

Please, do not take this one off!

Why not start by joining me Friday, Sept. 25th from 3:30-6pm @ Addenbrooke Park for our FAC and member engagement event! Enjoy a beverage on us while writing a few election postcards and calling members about Election 2020.

Need to get your steps in?

There’s no better way than giving 2-4 hours of your time this fall to walk for our recommended candidates and issues in this election. Never done that before? Check in with your building AR to find out what it’s like and when your school is walking as a group. Public education cannot afford slide backwards in 2020!

For the full JCEA list of endorsed candidates and ballot issues, click HERE!

Ready to volunteer? Follow the link to sign up! https://bit.ly/E20_JCEA_volunteer

The issues that connect to your paycheck

This year, amendments and propositions on the ballot are critical to future funding for K-12 schools in Colorado. Our efforts to build our salary schedule to competitive levels is dependent on the ability of local and state funding.

One critical issue is the Gallagher Amendment, a constitutional amendment that passed in 1982. At the time, 45% of property state wide was residential, and 55% was commercial. Gallagher froze that percentage in perpetuity, so that 55% of state property taxes ALWAYS had to come from commercial property. The problem is that after 40 years of population growth, the percentage of the value of residential property grew and now it’s 80% of the total property value statewide. Gallagher forces commercial rates up and residential rates down. In 1980, residential property was assessed at 30% of its market value. Today it’s 7.2%. So if your house is worth $100,000, in 1980 it was taxed based on a $30,000 value. Today it’s $7200.

To maintain the income stream from property taxes, counties and school districts have had to raise mill levies just to keep the income steady. But since TABOR passed in 1992, it has to go to the voters, and we’ve learned that getting voters to approve tax increases is very difficult.

This is really hurting rural areas and deep cuts to local services such as fire protection have had to occur.

Since property taxes are ONLY for county and other local governments, like school districts, it has had a profound effect on school funding. The local funding for schools in 1989 was 57% of the total, and the state portion was 43%. Today the local portion is 34% and the state portion is 66%. That has put tremendous strain on the state budget and created inequities and shortfalls around the state.

If Amendment B passes, it would repeal the part of the Gallagher Amendment that mandates a 45%-55% property tax ratio for residential and commercial properties, respectively. If passed, Amendment B would provide roughly $500 million per year to vital public services, like education.

IN LIGHT OF THE COVID ECONOMIC RECESSION, THIS WILL BE CRITICAL FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION. For more details about Gallagher and how it interplays with TABOR, go to https://buildingabettercolorado.org/gallagher-interactive/

Another ballot initiative is Proposition EE, which creates a tax on nicotine to fund kindergarten and public education. The tax will gradually increase taxes on tobacco cigarettes as well as vaping products. It will make these products more expensive, hopefully discouraging youth from starting smoking. It will also provide additional funding for public schools.

Two other propositions would hurt school funding, and we urge a NO vote on these:

NO on Proposition 116, a millionaire’s tax cut that would reduce already depleted spending on public services including education by $125 million – in the middle of a recession. This was started by the Independence Institute, a libertarian organization long involved in cutting taxes to the detriment of public education and children.

Finally, we urge a NO vote on Proposition 117. Prop 117 would roll state fees (an important source of revenue) into TABOR voter approval requirements, creating yet another roadblock to adequately funding our schools.

This year, paying attention to the issues on the ballot are as important as ever. Please vote accordingly on these important propositions and the one constitutional amendment.

For more information, CLICK HERE

Ready to volunteer? Follow the link to sign up! https://bit.ly/E20_JCEA_volunteer

Join us Tuesday!

RSVP here: https://bit.ly/Sep_Mem_Mtg