“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow,” Nelson Mandela said. They deserve the highest quality education we can provide them. I’m urging not just Montezuma County but the state of Colorado to support Amendment 73. It will help all Colorado schools and students, preschool through 12th grade.
Colorado’s school finance system is broken. Currently, Colorado ranks 48th in per-pupil spending. That is $2,800 less on each student than the national average. Colorado also ranks dead last in the nation on providing a competitive teacher wage.
With the combination of the Gallagher Amendment and TABOR, for nearly 30 years, school districts have been receiving less and less revenue from property taxes. And against popular belief, school districts do not receive marijuana money to fund our schools. It is time for the state of Colorado to start taking responsibility for the decades of funding shortfalls.
School funding is a statewide problem, not just a Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 problem. Over the years, 120 out of 178 Colorado school districts (including our surrounding districts) have been forced to go to their constituents and pass county mill levies to help bridge the financial gap from the shortfall.
If 73 passes, our Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 school district would receive approximately $4.4 million. Unlike mill levies, 73 will decrease property taxes for farmers and ranchers and business property owners. Income tax would increase only for filers making over $150,000. In Montezuma County, that only accounts for 1 percent of our population. In Colorado, 92 percent of filers will have no impact on their income tax. The corporate income tax rate would increase from 4.63 to 6 percent.
Also, if 73 passes, it will not reduce the revenue for fire districts. It would only modify assessment rates applicable to property taxes levied by school districts.
Now is our chance, Colorado, to hold the state accountable for years of shortfalls to our rural struggling districts.
Kara Suckla, Montezuma-Cortez School Board