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69 Legislators Commit to Fully Buying Down the Budget Stabilization Factor

69 Legislators Commit to Fully Buying Down the Budget Stabilization Factor

69 Legislators Commit to Fully Buying Down the Budget Stabilization Factor

Denver, CO — The Colorado Education Association (CEA) today announced that 69 Colorado legislators in both chambers and across party lines signed a commitment to fully buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor (B.S. Factor) this legislative session.

“We’re thrilled to see legislators honoring their commitment to buy down the B.S. Factor to zero,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA. “This is a crucial first step towards shoring up the future of public education in Colorado and will go a long way toward ensuring that each and every student in Colorado receives an exceptional education.”

Since the introduction of the B.S. Factor in 2010, Colorado students have faced a funding gap of more than $10 billion. While buying down the BS Factor is a necessary and vital step towards fully funding Colorado’s public schools, education funding levels would only return to levels seen in 1989. This underscores the substantial challenges faced by the education system in Colorado, as bridging the gap requires rectifying historical inadequacies in funding.

“In confronting the longstanding problem of continual disinvestment in Colorado’s students and educators over the course of several decades, it is essential not only to eliminate the B.S. factor entirely but also to reassess the limitations imposed by Colorado’s tax code, which have played a role in exacerbating the crisis in education funding,” said Baca-Oehlert. “The challenges faced by our public schools are intricate and interlinked and have led us to the brink of a crisis in public education in Colorado with a massive educator shortage, students with little access to much needed mental health supports, and class sizes that are much too large to meet the growing needs of students, necessitating a sustained and systemic funding solution that would significantly alleviate these issues.”

For a full list of the legislators who signed on to the commitment to buy down the B.S. Factor to zero, click here.

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents nearly 40,000 Colorado education professionals. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

Follow CEA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Colorado Education Association Responds to Governor’s State of State Address

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2024
Contact: Bethany Morris,
bmorris@coloradoea.org,
432-553-8747

Colorado Education Association Responds to Governor’s State of State Address

Denver, CO — Amie Baca-Oehlert, President of the Colorado Education Association, today released the following statement in response to the Governor’s State of State Address:

“We extend our gratitude to Governor Polis and state lawmakers for their commendable efforts in prioritizing public education in Colorado and taking the crucial first step to buy down the Budget Stabilization Factor to zero this legislative session. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that this action, though significant, marks just the beginning of a more comprehensive journey toward adequately funding our education system.

“It’s crucial to recognize that by fully addressing the B.S. Factor in this session, we are essentially bringing education funding levels back to those observed in 1989. While this step is undeniably noteworthy, it also underscores the long-standing inadequacies in the financial support our students and educators have received for decades. The educational landscape has evolved, and the demands on our schools have increased significantly since that time.
“It’s essential to view the commitment to fully fund public education as an ongoing and evolving process. True dedication to this cause necessitates a sustained effort to surpass the limitations of historical funding levels and bring education financing into alignment with the contemporary needs of our educational institutions.

“Furthermore, we must address the paradoxical challenge of expressing commitment to fully funding public education while simultaneously considering reductions in property and income taxes—both crucial revenue streams for supporting education in Colorado. It is essential to ensure that any fiscal decisions made do not undermine the very foundation of our education system.

“As advocates for education, we encourage a holistic approach that not only rectifies historical funding shortfalls but also establishes a forward-looking framework capable of meeting the evolving needs of our students and educators.

“Additionally, we echo the Governor’s call for more affordable housing in Colorado. This year’s State of Education report found that 50% of educators struggled to afford housing costs in the last year. Access to affordable housing is not only a fundamental human right but also a key determinant of our educators’ overall well-being and job satisfaction. As they play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our society, it is imperative that we prioritize their welfare by ensuring they have access to housing that is not only within their means but also provides a sense of stability.
“We look forward to working in tandem with the Governor and legislature to shepherd in a new era of fully funded public education in Colorado. Together, we can build a foundation that ensures every student receives the education they deserve, setting the stage for a brighter future for Colorado.”

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents nearly 40,000 Colorado education professionals. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

Follow CEA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

CEA Releases 2023 State of Education Report and 2024 Legislative Priorities

CEA Releases 2023 State of Education Report and 2024 Legislative Priorities

CEA Releases 2023 State of Education Report and 2024 Legislative Priorities

Denver, CO — The Colorado Education Association (CEA) today released the 2023 State of Education Report. The report highlights three challenges: the state of investment, the state of respect and the state of educator safety. The report also includes CEA’s 2024 legislative priorities. The report is based on publicly available data, news articles, cited research and surveys of CEA members.

The State of Investment

Because of tax code limitations and the use of the Budget Stabilization factor, Colorado’s per-pupil education funding lags significantly behind the national average. Furthermore, there is a significant pay gap for educators in Colorado, with a 37% disparity between their earnings and those of college graduates in other professions, marking the largest gap nationwide.

While buying down the Budget Stabilization Factor (BS Factor) is a crucial step toward adequately funding public schools, it alone is insufficient to address the cumulative impact that has resulted in a $10 billion funding shortfall for public schools since 2009. Even if the BS Factor were completely eliminated, our education funding would only return to the levels observed in 1989, underscoring the need for comprehensive measures to address the funding challenges facing Colorado’s public schools.

The State of Respect

The increasing politicization of public schools has caused an unprecedented burden on Colorado’s educators. The State of Education report showed that 56% of those surveyed felt politically divisive issues had significantly or somewhat affected their jobs. Furthermore, nearly 85% of respondents reported that politically divisive issues have significantly or somewhat affected their feelings and morale about working in the field of education. Almost a third of surveyed respondents said that they felt the need to change their curriculum based on the current political climate.

The State of Educator Safety

When educators feel safe, they are better equipped to teach effectively. However, this year’s State of Education report found that nearly a third of respondents (32%) experienced physical abuse by a student in the two years prior to taking the survey. Additionally, 70% of respondents attested to the worsening of students’ mental health needs over the past few years, and 66% of educators reported a substantial deterioration in their own mental health during the same period. This highlights the urgent need for comprehensive mental health support in our schools to ensure the safety of students, educators and staff.

“Right now, we’re at the brink of a public education crisis,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, President of CEA. “The state of investment, respect, and safety across Colorado’s schools clearly shows that we cannot continue down this path. We cannot expect our educators to remain underpaid, disrespected, and unprotected and still show up to work day after day to educate our children. We are and will continue to lose quality educators to other states if this remains the case. We have to find ways to invest sustainably and equitably in our public education system. The very future of Colorado depends on it.”

Today’s report also highlights CEA’s 2024 legislative priorities.

Investing in Public Education

Colorado’s public education system has suffered due to decades of chronic underfunding. CEA will work this legislative session to hold the Governor and legislature accountable for their promise to buy down the BS Factor to zero. This will fund our schools to the minimum amount required by the state constitution. Beyond meeting constitutional requirements, there is an inherent need to delve deeper into the intricate fabric of funding supporting our education system. It necessitates identifying and implementing sustainable, long-term solutions that will not only bridge the existing gaps but also foster an environment where schools receive adequate and equitable funding.

Respecting Educator Autonomy

Due to the politicization of our schools, our educators have felt the need to censor themselves, which robs our students of the quality education that they deserve. We need to restore educator autonomy so that our educators are empowered to provide the best education possible for our students. That’s why this session, CEA will work to pass legislation that protects educator autonomy by preventing the restriction of reading materials via book ban, which will protect students’ freedom to read. By safeguarding educator autonomy, the proposed legislation not only serves as a barrier against censorship but also as a testament to our commitment to foster a dynamic and intellectually stimulating educational environment.

Protecting Educators and Staff

Student, educator and staff safety is paramount if we want our schools to thrive for years to come. CEA will work with the legislature to find solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of students, educators and staff at Colorado public schools. These solutions must take into account not only the physical safety of our students, educators and staff but also their ongoing mental well-being.

“Our legislative priorities reflect the diverse perspective of our nearly 40,000 members,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, President of CEA. “We must invest in our public education system because our students deserve the best education possible. We must de-politicize our schools so our educators can have the autonomy to teach in the best way possible. And we must protect our educators and staff because students and educators perform at their best when they feel safe. Come January, our voices will be heard at the Capitol because we’ve proven that we’re stronger together.”

The full report can be found here.

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents nearly 40,000 Colorado education professionals. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.

CEA Gratitude Challenge

CEA Gratitude Challenge

Leading up to Thanksgiving, let’s make a difference by acknowledging the incredible work of educators. Your words of thanks can brighten someone’s day and inspire a culture of appreciation in our education community! Challenge those you’ve tagged to keep the gratitude flowing by nominating others each day. 🦃📚 #CEAGratitudeChallenge #WeAreCEA


Monday: Reflect & Recognize🌟

As we kick off our Gratitude Challenge, take a moment today to reflect on the unique qualities that make you thankful for your fellow educators. Share a shout-out or a memory that highlights the passion and dedication you see in your colleagues. Let’s start this week with positive vibes! 🍎💙 #CEAGratitudeChallenge #WeAreCEA

Gratitude Challenge Steps:

  • Share a Memory: Post a photo or share a memory highlighting a colleague’s passion and dedication.
  • Use #CEAGratitudeChallenge: Include the challenge hashtag in your post: #CEAGratitudeChallenge.
  • Tag a Colleague: Tag a fellow educator, encouraging them to reflect and appreciate their peers.


Tuesday: Student Spotlight 📚🌈

Today, let’s shift our focus to the incredible students who make our classrooms vibrant! Share a story or a photo that captures a moment of inspiration from a student. Express your gratitude for the joy they bring to your teaching journey. 🌟👩‍🏫 #CEAGratitudeChallenge #WeAreCEA #StudentSpotlight #ThankfulTuesday

Gratitude Challenge Steps:

  • Showcase a Student Moment: Share a story or photo capturing a special moment with a student.
  • Include #CEAGratitudeChallenge: Don’t forget to use the challenge hashtag: #CEAGratitudeChallenge.
  • Challenge Others: Challenge your colleagues to highlight the positive impact students have made in their classrooms.


Wednesday: Sharing Wisdom 🧠💬

Midweek calls for sharing wisdom and insights! Tag a fellow educator and let them know how their teachings or advice have made a difference in your professional life. It’s a day to celebrate the wealth of knowledge within our educational community. 🎓🤝 #CEAGratitudeChallenge #WisdomWednesday #WeAreCEA

Gratitude Challenge Steps:

  • Share Teaching Insights: Post a valuable teaching technique, classroom activity, or lesson plan.
  • Include #CEAGratitudeChallenge: Incorporate the challenge hashtag in your post: #CEAGratitudeChallenge.
  • Tag a Teaching Friend: Tag a fellow educator and encourage them to share their wisdom as well.


Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving 🍁🧡🦃

This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for the incredible educators who light up Colorado’s classrooms with passion and dedication! 🌟🍂 Your hard work and commitment makes a lasting impact on each and every students’ lives. Wishing all our amazing educators a joyful and restful Thanksgiving! 🍁🧡🦃 Let’s join hands in expressing our gratitude for the amazing educators who shape the minds of future generations. Participate in the challenge to share why you’re thankful for the educators in your life! #WeAreCEA #Thanksgiving #GratitudeChallenge

Gratitude Challenge Steps:

  • Reflect and Share: Take a moment to reflect on the educators who have made a positive impact on you, your children, or your community.
  • Express Your Gratitude: Create a post sharing why you’re grateful for these educators. It could be a specific memory, their dedication, or the positive influence they’ve had.
  • Tag and Nominate: Tag friends, family, and colleagues to encourage them to join the challenge and express their gratitude for educators. Incorporate the challenge hashtag in your post: #CEAGratitudeChallenge.

 

Urgent Action, Lasting Impact: CEA’s Statement on the 2023 Special Session and Public Education Funding

Urgent Action, Lasting Impact: CEA’s Statement on the 2023 Special Session and Public Education Funding

CEA logo
CONTACT
Sydney Slifka
Director of Digital Communications
Colorado Education Association
sslifka@coloradoea.org

Cell: (720) 512-7790

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 9, 2023

Urgent Action, Lasting Impact
CEA’s Statement on the 2023 Special Session and Public Education Funding 

DENVER, CO – Today, Governor Jared Polis called for a Special Session to address the escalating property taxes in our state. The following statement can be attributed to Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education association: 

“In the wake of Prop HH’s defeat on the 2023 ballot, the Colorado Education Association appreciates Governor Polis’ proactive call for a Special Session to address escalating property taxes in our state. We are deeply empathetic to the challenges rising costs present to our students and their families and the most vulnerable members of our communities, including our seniors and veterans, and acknowledge that action must be taken. 

“CEA firmly believes that any proposed solutions must be carefully crafted to protect the funding allocated to public education. Schools are the cornerstone of our society, and we remain dedicated to the cause of ensuring that every child in Colorado has access to a high-quality public education. It is imperative that any measures taken during the special session do not further compromise an already strained and underfunded system. 

“We call on lawmakers to consider comprehensive and sustainable solutions that prioritize the needs of our communities while safeguarding the essential funding for public education. The Colorado Education Association remains committed to working collaboratively with the governor, legislators, and other stakeholders to find equitable and effective solutions and encourage open dialogue, careful consideration of all options, and a focus on long-term strategies that will prioritize those who need relief the most.

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About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is a membership-based organization that represents nearly 40,000 Colorado education professionals. The CEA promise to our students and communities is that the members of the Association will lead the way in guaranteeing every student access to the best public education. By working collectively with all education stakeholders, we will provide the best public education for every student and assure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.