Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Colorado Educators Celebrate Historic, Momentous Legislative Session

Posted on: May 9, 2023
Posted By: CEA Communications
Posted in: Press
Tagged:

CONTACT

Lauren Stephenson

LStephenson@coloradoea.org

(303) 968-5571

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 9, 2023

 

Colorado Educators Celebrate Historic, Momentous Legislative Session

DENVER – This Monday evening, the Colorado legislature ended an historic legislative session for educators, students, and public schools. Thanks in no small part to the fierce advocacy of the Colorado Education Association’s 39,000 members, our state made incredible gains in educators’ priorities and core areas of concern including:

Investment

  • Increased funding through the School Finance Act (SB 23-287)
    • $180 million buydown of the Budget Stabilization Factor
    • $30 million for rural schools
    • $1,018 increase in per-pupil spending, a 10.6% increase
  • $40 million additional funding for Special Education (SB 23-099)
  • Reduction of property taxes (SB23-303)
  • Increased the supply of affordable housing (HB 23-1304, HB 23-1255, SB 23-035)
  • Additional investment in PERA (SB 23-056)

Respect

  • The largest increase in educator and public workers rights in a decade (SB 23-111)
  • Solutions to the teacher shortage (HB 23-1064, HB 23-1001, HB 23-1212, SB 23-087)
  • Modernizing the Accountability System (HB 23-1241)

Safety

  • Educator inclusion as reporters in the Extreme Risk Protection Order bill (SB 23-170)
  • Passage of four additional common sense gun bills (SB 23-168, SB 23-169, SB 23-279, HB 23-1219)
  • Establishment of the Office of School Safety, including grant funding for any school that wishes to establish a co-responder model (SB 23-241)
  • School lunch programs (SB 23-221)
  • Increased mental health supports (HB 23-1003, SB 23-004)

Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and president of the Colorado Education Association said: “We started this year on a high after electing three of our member educators to the Colorado state legislature and passing the Healthy School Meals for all in November. There were plenty of challenges, but our members kept showing up – calling, emailing, and driving across the state – to ensure our representatives knew exactly what our educators and students need. It’s no coincidence that in many areas, the legislation passed was even more in line with educators’ goals than was originally forecasted. It is clear we have many legislative champions who really listened to the needs of our students and public schools.”

“The session started off on a high with the passage of HB23-1064 Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which is an important win in the fight to combat statewide teacher shortages. It was a particularly momentous win as it was sponsored by three of our very own member educators, Representative Meghan Lukens, Representative Mary Young, and Senator Janice Marchman.”

““As our State of Education report outlined in January, the CEA has been focused on prioritizing our educator’s needs around the pillars of more investment, respect and safety for our educators, our students, and our schools. We’re thrilled to have accomplished so much that we set out to in our legislative agenda. Throughout the legislative session, every CEA member, as well as our students, parents, and community of supporters, played an important role in ensuring the success of this session’s consequential legislation. We look forward to seeing the measurable improvements this will bring in the lives of Colorado students and educators.”

“We are incredibly disappointed, however, that our legislators neglected to pass several bold fixes for Colorado’s affordable housing crisis – such as SB23-213 Land Use, HB23-1115 Repeal Prohibition Local Residential Rent Control, and HB23-1171 Just Cause Requirement Eviction of Residential Tenant. Housing accessibility is a top concern for Colorado residents, and a lack of affordable housing disproportionately affects educators. This is a crisis and it must be treated as such. The average teacher in Eagle County takes home less than $3,800 per month, while the average 2-bedroom apartment costs more than $2,030 – that’s 53 percent of their monthly income going to rent. When educators can’t live in the communities where they work teach, it is our students who lose out on dedicated teachers who will support their academic, personal, social and physical growth.”

“Following this legislative session’s close, our members’ attention will next turn to their local school board races. We are united in our view that all Colorado school boards should represent their communities, and should always work to center educators in all discussions and decisions regarding their schools. A successful school board works together with our educators to pursue solutions to the real, systemic challenges faced by our students, and we look forward to supporting candidates with those same values.”

“We will also be redoubling our efforts – in coalition with our labor and organizational partners at Together We Thrive – to push for the substantive systemic changes that are necessary for fully-funded schools. It is clear that Coloradans value our educators and want what’s best for our students. Enacting bold, systemic change is the only way to ensure that our public school system matches Coloradans’ ideals, and it is the only way to ensure that our students – no matter their color, background, or zip code – are able to enjoy the inclusive, safe, and honest education they deserve.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

For more information on the Colorado Education Association’s Legislative Agenda:

###

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.

Follow CEA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Related Posts

Classrooms Without Closets: CEA in the 2024 Denver Pride Parade

Dozens of members of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) proudly marched in this year’s Denver Pride Parade, celebrating our commitment to creating inclusive and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ educators and students.

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

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! 

A Conversation with Kevin Vick, CEA’s New President

CEA President Kevin Vick sits down for a conversation with CEA Director of Communications, Bethany Morris to discuss his vision for CEA.