CO. Teachers Rally For Funding, Leads to School Cancellations

Pictured above is teachers gathering at the capitol
Photo Courtesy of Googleimages

Pictured above is teachers gathering at the capitol Photo Courtesy of Googleimages

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Educators from all around Colorado assembled at Civic Center Park to bring awareness to the lack of funding of public schools on Friday, April 27th.

The Cherry Creek School District canceled classes on Friday with the anticipation of a shortage of teachers.

Teachers gathered in protest of the lack of education funding, teacher pay, and proposed changes to pension plans.

“I’m here for my students because they deserve better. As far as funding and they need to be appreciated more. We’re all educated professionals and we deserve funding as well.” Math teacher Erin Dwyer commented.  

Colorado is ranked 47th in the nation in terms of school funding, leading Arizona and Oklahoma.

This year, Colorado school districts each got $6.6 billion from the state. $2.24 billion came from state and local property taxes, $4.2 billion came from the state’s general fund.

“I think that Cherry Creek School District has planned ahead, and they really do take care of the teachers and they take care of the students, so we are probably in one of the best places in the state of Colorado.” commented Kathy Fennell.

In 2015, many states had began the process of getting back to where they were pre-recession. Yet there are many states who cut income taxes further and are still providing much less support for education.

Twenty-nine states provided less overall funding than in the 2008 school year, before the recession took hold. The states that increased school funding after they had cut it during the recession still haven’t completely made up for the for those cuts. This means that the funding schools originally had is still not available to them.

I recognize that closing school is an inconvenience and a burden for families and I thank you for your patience regarding this matter. I also think it is worth recognizing that our teachers are taking personal time to advocate for what they believe will provide for a brighter future for all of our students.” Superintendent Harry Bull said in an email to the school community that was sent out April 20th.

According to Colorado Public Radio’s The Taxman, Colorado has one of the five best economies in the United States, yet we have one of the five worst education systems due to lack of funding. Colorado is the 12th richest state yet our public schools are not properly funded. We are ranked between the 39th and 47th when it comes to public school funding. A well-funded public education system is crucial for communities to thrive.

The National Education Association ranked Colorado 46th in the country for teacher’s pay with an average annual salary of $46,155. This is seven-thousand dollars a year below the national average. There has also been an increase of 9,000 new students over the last two years to public schools in Denver. This increase in students indicate that schools need, and should get, more funding but that obviously isn’t the case.

By withholding this funding, the state is leaving teachers and students in a detrimental situation that doesn’t benefit anyone. This leaves school districts to decide what programs are worth funding and which aren’t. These types of decisions get in the way of every student and their ability to learn.

The reason for the protest is to bring awareness to many of the problems that education faces. Proctor hopes this protest “will bring awareness and maybe some changes.”

This lack of funding has crippled the public school system and hindered teachers from being able to give each student the education that they are entitled to. As a society we are responsible for the every students education and growth. We can no longer allow insufficient public school funding to rob students of their opportunities or rob educators of what they have worked hard for.

“I’m excited to see that this many people showed up and I’m really proud of the education community for all showing up for a common goal,” replied Dwyer.

Spanish teacher Edith Mestas  would like to add “Si se puede”

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