FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2021
Election 2021: Public Education WINS!
Voters Choose Educators and Public Education
DENVER – Tonight, faced with decisions over local mill levy and bond races, statewide ballot measures, and politically charged school board races, voters overwhelmingly chose educators and public education. The votes cast tonight will have long lasting effects on Colorado students, educators and public education across the state.
“Our students have been severely and chronically underfunded to the tune of $10 billion over the last 10 years,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association. “We are at a critical point in time where the chronic underfunding and crisis-level educator shortages are having a real and damaging effect on students, educators and school districts all across the state.”
When it comes to school board elections, this was a year unlike any other in recent memory. While there were a lot of candidates who ran on platforms that were student, education, and community focused, there were also the candidates, propped up by dark money funded by large corporations and the ultra wealthy, whose focus was on one or two hyperly divisive political issues, while genuinely not caring about actual education policy solutions that will benefit students, their families and educators. We proudly stand with pro-public education candidates, celebrate their victories tonight and look forward to working with them at the local level to give students and educators the resources they need to be successful.
In many districts throughout the state, voters sent a clear message, standing with educators and valuing students and public education by electing candidates recommended by the professional educators in their communities. After early returns, voters stood with educators all across the state from Jefferson County to Eagle County to Fort Collins to Cherry Creek and all the way to Durango, Steamboat and Summit County. Many races have yet to be called but we anticipate some more big wins in the next couple of days.
Despite one of the strongest economies in the nation, our schools are still struggling to meet the needs of students due to the chronic underfunding of our public schools, so Colorado voters were asked to decide on more than $1.5 billion worth of local mill levy and bond measures across the state. After early returns, we congratulate the following communities for passing Local Mill Levy and Bond races across Colorado: Mesa Valley Bond 4B, Ridgway Bond 4B, Ridgway Mill 4A, Roaring Fork Mill 5B. The money invested by voters into local school districts tonight will help improve the academic lives of students and educators in those communities. We anxiously await the results of more races tomorrow.
CEA opposed Proposition 120, as property taxes are the first source of funding for public schools in Colorado. Any reduction of property taxes forces the state to backfill that lost revenue and with over a half billion dollar deficit in public education funding this would have been yet another blow to Colorado public schools.
Tonight the voters soundly rejected Proposition 120, the annual ballot measure to ensure the wealthiest Coloradans get significant tax breaks while the rest of us enjoy negligible tax breaks at the expense of public services like fire and police protection and public education. We are appreciative that the voters saw through this scheme to rig the system for the wealthiest few and understand that our property taxes fund critical services in our communities.
Despite these local measures, with some passing and others failing, elections like these continue to raise a red flag that Colorado does not do enough to provide students, educators, and school districts the resources to provide exceptional public schools no matter where they live. State legislators have the opportunity this January to find creative and sustainable ways to improve public education funding, especially in light of Gov. Polis’s budget proposal, which prioritizes K-12 funding.
“We must fully fund our schools so that our students…no matter the color of their skin, or where they live, or how much money their parents make…can have an exceptional neighborhood public school to attend,” said Baca-Oehlert. “We are extremely proud of our members’ efforts during this election and for the work they do every day. No matter the outcome of the election, we remain committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunities afforded them to be successful in our public schools.”
About the Colorado Education Association
The Colorado Education Association is the voice of 39,000 educators, working together in a strong union to ensure all students get the exceptional public schools they deserve, in every neighborhood across the state. As Colorado’s largest labor union, CEA works collectively with all education stakeholders to ensure Colorado’s standing as an excellent state in which to learn, live, work, and raise a family.