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Decline to Sign: Take action to protect Colorado values by not signing any petition for the rest of this year

Decline to Sign: Take action to protect Colorado values by not signing any petition for the rest of this year

Decline to sign Right now, billionaires and corporations are collecting signatures in your neighborhood, trying to put measures on the 2024 ballot that will defund public education, transportation, and public safety; harm our democracy by undermining how we vote, and bring partisan politics into our schools, increasing the surveillance of students and teachers. These campaigns pose serious threats to public services and our communities. We urge you to take action to protect Colorado values by not signing any petition for the rest of this year. Let’s stand together to protect our communities from these attacks by withholding our signatures!

 

Below, you’ll find information on these initiatives and why it’s crucial for us to stand together and DECLINE TO SIGN. Each of these initiatives are linked to our ensorsements page with more detail.

 

Initiative 108 – Property Tax Rate Decrease Initiative 108 would cut residential and non-residential property assessment rates, causing a $3 billion drop in local property tax revenue in the first year, straining the state budget and risking K-12 funding.

 

 

 

 

 

Initiative 138 – School Choice Amendment

Initiative 138 would add school choice and parental rights to direct education to the state constitution, which is unnecessary since school choice already exists, and it could pave the way for vouchers diverting funds from public schools.

 

 

 

 

Initiative 142 – Parental Notification of Gender Incongruence

Initiative 142 would require educators to notify parents if a child experiences gender incongruence, forcing teachers to police students, violating student privacy, and setting a harmful precedent.

Initiative 160 – Public Athletics Programs for Minors

Initiative 160 would restrict high school athletics participation based on sex assigned at birth, discriminating against transgender students and denying them the benefits of school athletics.

 

 

How Can You Help?

– Educate Yourself and Others: Understand the implications of these petitions and share this knowledge with your colleagues, friends, and family.

– Be Vigilant: If you see a petition that could harm our education system, politely decline to sign and explain why to others.

– Spread the Word: Use social media, community meetings, and other platforms to amplify the message of “Decline to Sign.” Update your profile picture today!

 

 

Workers Rally to Challenge Gov. Polis to Protect Their Rights

Workers Rally to Challenge Gov. Polis to Protect Their Rights

Workers, community and labor advocates, and legislators rallied at the State Capitol this afternoon to commend the legislature for standing with workers by passing legislation to ensure workplace protections and quality jobs and to express disappointment with the Governor’s failure to sign them.

man standing at rally with shirt that says Polis Failed Workers

Last Friday evening, Governor Polis vetoed three bills that would have helped working Coloradans. Rally attendees will call on the Governor to take steps to stand with workers going forward -including engaging with workers this summer and fall to learn of the challenges they face- and to commit his final two years in office to signing policies that support worker rights and well-paying jobs.

HB24-1008 The bill would have protected workers in the construction industry who are victims of wage theft by requiring general contractors to ensure all workers are paid on the projects they build and that their subcontractors take responsibility for paying workers.

“Wage theft happens every single day at job sites across Colorado,” said Jonathan Morales, an impacted worker. “I’ve been a victim of wage theft and I know many, many others who have been. Governor Polis failed us with his vetoes. But there is a way to make it right and we hope he’ll finally meet with us and work with us in a meaningful way so all Colorado workers have the protections they deserve.”

Senator Jessia Danielson speaking at Stand with Workers Rally“The legislature passed HB1008 with strong majorities because it recognized that victims of wage theft need more protections and better ways to get the wages they earned,” said Jordan Jones, a Representative for the Western States Regional Council of Carpenters. “A lot of those workers are paycheck-to-paycheck and they needed the Governor to support them. He failed and now he owes it to those workers to meet with them and adopt real fixes so folks aren’t missing rent and mortgage payments, aren’t forced to skip meals, and can take care of their families.”

HB24-1260 The bill would have prevented employers from retaliating against workers who choose to opt out of mandatory political or religious meetings in the workplace.

“These vetoes let down Colorado’s working families.” Said Sephanie Felix-Sowy, President of SEIU Local 105. “Workers across our state were counting on Governor Polis to sign these historic protections into law, including HB 1260 which would have protected workers from being forced to listen to religious, political or anti-union speech from their employer, and in failing to do so, he missed an opportunity to stand with workers. Moving forward, our members will continue to fight together every day to expand workers’ rights and protections, and to ensure that no worker in Colorado is left behind.”

Aurora Education Association member Bryan Lindstrom speaking at Stand with Workers Rally“I’m so disappointed in our Governor. Workers across Colorado put so much time into helping elect him because we believed he would be our champion.” said Bobby Schreiber, a life skills manager at Urban Peak and SEIU Local 105 member.  Seeing him veto historic protections like this is incredibly disappointing. Workers, especially those without a union, need to be protected from employer retaliation for simply not attending a meeting not related to their job, and he failed us.”

Colorado Education Association at Stand with Workers rally.

HB24-1307 The bill would have ensured high-road contractors are completing HVAC improvement projects in Colorado schools and ensuring those schools get the grants they need.

“Investing in school infrastructure is essential not only for the immediate well-being of our students and educators but also for the long-term success of our educational system,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of the Colorado Education Association. “This decision represents a missed opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the quality of education in Colorado, and it sends a troubling message about the prioritization of our state’s resources and the importance placed on the educational environment.”

Paving the Way for our Fully Funded Era in Colorado’s Schools

Paving the Way for our Fully Funded Era in Colorado’s Schools

We are thrilled to announce the signing of SB24-188 Public School Finance and HB24-1448 New Public School Finance Formula! This marks a historic event with the complete buy down of the Budget Stabilization (B.S.) Factor to ZERO — our first step toward our #FullyFundEd Era!

Governor Jared Polis signing the school finance act.

The Significance of SB24-188 and HB24-1448
SB24-188 Public School Finance and HB24-1448 New Public School Finance Formula are monumental in shaping the future of Colorado’s education system. The buy down of the B.S. Factor to zero signifies a pivotal moment in our journey toward fully funded public education. This legislative achievement lays the groundwork for a more equitable and adequately funded education system, ensuring that all students across Colorado receive the resources they need to succeed.

CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert being recognized by the Colorado House of Representatives.

Honoring CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert
In addition to this legislative triumph, we are incredibly proud to share that CEA President Amie Baca-Oehlert received special recognition from the Colorado House of Representatives. Amie has dedicated 27 years to education, starting as an English teacher at Adams City High School. Her journey in education has seen her take on various leadership roles, including serving as a school counselor, a member of the District 12 bargaining team, and eventually as President of the Colorado Education Association.Amie’s tenure as CEA President has been marked by her unwavering dedication and resilience, particularly during the unprecedented challenges of the global pandemic. She successfully led Colorado’s educators through this difficult period, negotiating a return to in-person learning and securing PPE and vaccines for educators. Her leadership has left a lasting impact on Colorado’s educators, students, and public education in Colorado.

Bill signing at Elementary School. As we celebrate these monumental achievements, we also look forward to the future with hope and determination. The passing of SB24-188 and HB24-1448 is just the beginning of our journey toward fully funding public education. Through the collective efforts of our dedicated members, we are confident in our ability to shape a bright future for all students in Colorado.

Join us in celebrating this historic moment and recognizing the exceptional dedication and leadership of Amie Baca-Oehlert.

Bill to Safeguard K-12 Education, Lower Property Taxes for Coloradans to be Signed!

Bill to Safeguard K-12 Education, Lower Property Taxes for Coloradans to be Signed!

CONTACT
Bethany Morris
Colorado Education Association
bmorris@coloradoea.org
432-553-8747

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2024 

Bill to Safeguard K-12 Education, Lower Property Taxes for Coloradans to be Signed!

DENVER, CO — This afternoon, Governor Polis is set to sign SB24-233, Property Tax, a bill that safeguards funding for K-12 education while also providing property tax relief for Coloradans across all four corners of the state. The bill was drafted and debated after months of bipartisan effort from the Commission on Property Tax of, which the Colorado Education Association Vice President, Kevin Vick, served upon.

“After months of hard work on the Commission on Property Tax, a bipartisan, long-term solution to the ever-rising property taxes in the state has been signed,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA. “This piece of legislation will reduce property taxes on hardworking Colorado home and business owners while also protecting school funding.”

SB24-233, sponsored by Senators Chris Hansen and Barbara Kirkmeyer as well as Representatives Chris deGruy Kennedy and Lisa Frizell, will ensure that homeowners in Colorado won’t have an increase in property taxes this year as well as reduce statewide local taxes by more than $1 billion.

Additionally, starting in 2026, the bill provides progressive property tax relief by reducing assessed value by 10% for homes valued at $700,000 or less. The bill would also reduce the commercial property assessment rate from 29% to 25% by 2027. Finally, the bill would also cap local property tax growth at 5.5% starting in 2025. To protect K-12 funding, the bill increases the school rate for residential properties to 7.15%.

Before SB24-233 was introduced, Initiatives 50 and 108 loomed over Colorado, threatening to bring devastating cuts to our schools and local communities. These measures would recklessly cut $3 billion per year from local community budgets, delivering big tax cuts to wealthy homeowners and big corporations but doing very little for seniors, the middle class, small businesses or rural Coloradans. Plugging funding gaps that large would require major cuts to state funding for education, healthcare and transportation. Coloradans need property tax relief, but Initiatives 50 and 108 are the wrong way to do it.

“Unlike Initiatives 50 and 108, SB24-233 brings a balanced approach that demonstrates our commitment to both economic stability and educational excellence in our state. By implementing this legislation, we are ensuring that our homeowners and entrepreneurs receive much-needed relief without compromising the quality of education for our students,” said Baca-Oehlert. “In addition to Initiatives 50 and 108 delivering catastrophic cuts to our communities, we know that voters are confused and are not sold on these measures.”

A recent survey, conducted by Aspect Strategic on behalf of the Colorado Education Association, demonstrates that if the election were held today, fewer than four in ten likely voters would be inclined to support either Initiative 50 or Initiative 108. Read more about that survey in our polling memo.

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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

 

 

School Finance Act Passes First Hurdle with Complete Buydown of B.S. Factor, Investment in Rural Schools

School Finance Act Passes First Hurdle with Complete Buydown of B.S. Factor, Investment in Rural Schools

The Colorado Education Association’s (CEA) nearly 40,000 members have tirelessly advocated for additional funding for Colorado’s education system for years. Today, the School Finance Act, SB24-188, passed out of the Senate Education Committee and includes a complete buy down of the Budget Stabilization Factor and investments in rural schools. The vote count was 7-0.

“Today’s historic investment in Colorado’s education system is the first step towards the fully funded future our students, educators and communities deserve,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA. “Not only does the School Finance Act allocate substantial resources to enhance educational opportunities for our children, it also sets the stage for a comprehensive reimagining of the educational landscape. This investment holds the promise of fostering greater equity, innovation and excellence throughout our schools, empowering students to thrive, educators to excel and communities to flourish.”

Some highlights of the 2024-2025 School Finance Act include:

  • The buy down of the B.S. Factor to $0
  • A rural factor that will provide ongoing additional funding for rural school districts
  • A $420 per-pupil funding increase, bringing base per-pupil funding to $8,496.38

“While the complete buy down of the B.S. Factor and a historic investment in our rural schools are cause for celebration, we must also remember that buying down the B.S. Factor will only return our schools to 1989 funding levels,” said Baca-Oehlert. “We need a permanent funding solution that prioritizes distributing and allocating resources among our schools and communities sustainably and equitably. With a fully funded education system, we can provide our children with the exceptional education that they deserve.”

Amie Baca-Oehlert Testifying on Public School Finance Act

Amie Baca-Oehlert Testifying on Public School Finance Act