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Cindy at the Interim School Finance Committee

on Thu, 01/11/2018 - 00:22

The Interim School Finance Committee met on January 9, 2018 and our president, Cindy Barnard, testifi

Good morning Mr. Chair, Committee members, thank you for your work and the opportunity to testify today.  My name is Cindy Barnard and I am here today representing Taxpayers for Public Education, a Colorado based 501c4 non partisan, non profit organization. We advocate for and support public education by working to ensure that tax dollars earmarked for public education can only be used to fund public education.

I have attended each meeting of this Committee. I have listened intently to discussions of student count, categorical funding, rural schools and today’s discussion.  These are important issues; however, the discussion lacks a broader, holistic focus. It has failed to encompass equitable and adequate funding of our public education system. Any discussion that excludes adequacy and does not address funding of all students in all public schools, is simply a discussion of re-shuffling the current problem of inadequate funding.  

It is has been discussed that we have a teacher shortage, yet we accept that our teachers are not earning a living wage. It has been discussed that early childhood education is vital to a child’s success, yet we do not fully fund kindergarten. It has been discussed  that it is costlier to educate students that learn differently, it is costlier to educate students whose native language is not English, students, without support at home, students who live in poverty. All of this impacts the cost of education, yet we continue to ignore the impact.

The term “student-centered funding,” which can be synonymous with backpack funding, has been used repeatedly.  Taxpayers for Public Education opposes any changes to the Colorado School Finance Act or public school funding in Colorado that would use public taxpayer dollars to pay for private education through tax credits, vouchers or education savings accounts.  Public taxpayer dollars for public education must stay in public schools.

If we are to have an educated society, there must be equity. Before we can have equity, we must have full funding. Perhaps, as was determined in Laboto, the formula isn’t the problem. Continued re-shuffling of inadequate funding will not fix education. As legislators, you have the ability. You have the power. You have the responsibility to insure a strong public education system that meets the needs of all children. If we simply choose to do it faster and cheaper, we will not do it better. For to do education cheaper & faster, equates to loss of high quality teachers, further destruction of equity, and no chance of achieving the excellence in education that all children deserve.