Elected Members of the Colorado General Assembly

In the last 15 years, educators in Colorado have had their pay cut by more than 17% when adjusting for inflation. This number doesn’t even take into account the amount of money educators spend out of pocket every year for things like paper, pencils and books, which is an average of over $650 per Colorado educator according a recent study. At the same time, the cost of living has skyrocketed - especially for housing. Too many educators can’t afford to live in the communities where they teach. During the same time frame, corporations in Colorado have received over $1.6 billion in tax breaks, while every year, educators are asked to do more with less.

We have an educator shortage in Colorado and legislators are uniquely positioned to do something about it, primarily through passing policies that support and value educators and our students.

The Colorado Legislature must focus on solutions that will attract quality educators to our state rather than on ideological solutions driven by well-funded out of state interests. SB 18-200 to change PERA in its current form is an attack on education professions and the ability of educators to support their families and contribute to our communities and will further exacerbate the educator shortage in Colorado.

We call on Colorado legislators to prioritize classrooms over corporations. Funding for Colorado’s students should be prioritized over corporate tax subsidies and the security of educators’ pensions should take priority over the interests of hedge fund managers and wealth advisors.  

Specifically, this year legislators must:
1.     Fund our schools. Our schools are currently underfunded by $830 million. The positive state revenue forecast clearly demonstrates that there is substantially more money available this year and therefore we can and must do a better job funding our schools. This must be a top budget priority. Specifically, the legislature must:
   a.    Restore and Increase Education Funding.
   b.    Commit to a freeze on corporate tax breaks of all kind until our school funding is restored or until per-pupil funding reaches the national average.

2.      Fix SB 18-200 and commit to a secure retirement for educators and public employees. Colorado students’ success depends on a stable teaching profession. SB 18-200 will further exacerbate the educator shortage and will incentivize churn of educators over longevity. It will further discourage people from going into the education profession and discourages others from staying for a full career.

Colorado’s children are counting on you. We urge you to take a stand and prioritize classrooms over corporations.
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To: Elected Members of the Colorado General Assembly
From: [Your Name]

We urge you to take a stand and prioritize classrooms over corporations. Colorado’s students are counting on you.