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Colorado Education Association Announces Recommendations for 2024 Primary Elections

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2024 

Colorado Education Association Announces Recommendations for 2024 Primary Elections 

DENVER, CO — The Colorado Education Association (CEA) today released its recommended candidates for the 2024 primary elections. After a legislative session in which the legislature took historic steps to fully fund public education by buying down the Budget Stabilization Factor to $0, CEA and its nearly 40,000 members are looking forward to continuing the momentum by electing pro-public education candidates across all four corners of the state.

“After a historic legislative session where educators showed up at the Capitol weekly to ensure that students, educators and public education were a priority this legislative session, the nearly 40,000 members of CEA are now concentrating on electing officials who are staunch supporters of public education,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA. “Our students and educators deserve to learn and work in schools that are adequately resourced and supported. The recent efforts to reduce the Budget Stabilization Factor were a significant initial step toward addressing the funding gaps, but this is only the beginning. We need our elected officials to boldly pursue permanent, sustainable and equitable solutions to ensure our education system is fully funded and capable of meeting the needs of future generations. This is essential for creating an environment where both students and educators can thrive and for maintaining the quality of education that our communities expect and deserve.”

CEA RECOMMENDED CANDIDATES 

State Board of Education 

  • State Board of Education CD 2: Kathy Gebhardt (D-Boulder)

  • State Board of Education CD 8: Rhonda Solis (D-Greeley)

State Legislature 

  • House District 4: Tim Hernández, CEA Member (D-Denver)

  • House District 10: Tina Mueh, CEA Member (D-Boulder)

  • House District 31: Julia Marvin (D-Thornton)

  • House District 36: Bryan Lindstrom, CEA Member (D-Aurora)

  • House District 52: Yara Zokaie (D-Fort Collins)

  • Senate District 18: Judy Amabile (D-Boulder)

  • Senate District 28: Mike Weissman (D-Aurora)

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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 TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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

 

 

End of 2024 Legislative Session Marks Significant Victories for Public Education in Colorado

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2024 

End of 2024 Legislative Session Marks Significant Victories for Public Education in Colorado  

Denver, CO — Colorado’s 2024 legislative session ended and marked significant victories for public education in Colorado. The Colorado Education Association’s (CEA) nearly 40,000 members advocated for buying down the Budget Stabilization Factor (B.S. Factor) to $0, increasing the safety of students and educators and protecting renter and workers’ rights.

Over the course of 120 days, CEA held 15 lobby days, which were attended by approximately 475 members. Additionally, CEA took positions on 159 bills, worked to pass 15 bills, and amended or helped defeat 23 bills.

“We had a bold agenda at the start of this legislative session that aimed to improve the lives of students and educators across all four corners of the state,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, high school counselor and President of CEA. “This session, our victories were numerous and included historic investments in public education that will cultivate a more equitable educational landscape where students, regardless of their zip code or background, will have access to an exceptional education.”

Among key victories spearheaded by the union this year was the complete buy down of the B.S. Factor in SB24-188, Public School Finance. Introduced in 2010 as a way to balance the state budget during the Great Recession, the B.S. Factor “borrowed” money from K-12 education every year until Colorado students faced a funding gap of more than $10 billion. Combined with state tax code constraints, per-pupil funding levels have failed to keep pace with national standards, consistently placing Colorado among the lowest-ranked states. While buying down the B.S. Factor is an important step to fully funding public education in Colorado, doing so will only return public education funding to 1989 levels.

Other victories included HB24-1320, Educator Safety Task Force, which creates a task force comprised of 17 individuals with professional and lived experience in Colorado schools to study the impact of state policy, staff shortages and resource inequalities on the safety of public school staff and develop a set of recommendations that avoids contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline.

“I applaud the bill sponsors for their work on this piece of legislation,” said Baca-Oehlert. “Passing this bill means that we’re one step closer towards creating safer schools for both our students and educators. However, we need to ensure that we’re not contributing to the existing school-to-prison pipeline when developing legislative recommendations. Looking forward, any recommendations must demonstrate a commitment to fostering inclusive and equitable learning environments for all.”

CEA was also part of the Colorado Homes for All (COHFA) coalition, which helped pass HB24-1098, Cause Required for Eviction of Residential Tenant. The bill establishes a “For Cause” eviction policy that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants from residential properties without just cause. This will protect students, families, and educators from unjust evictions.

“This vital piece of legislation stands as a safeguard against displacement, protecting the fundamental right of individuals to secure and maintain their homes by mandating justifications for evictions,” said Baca-Oehlert. “ By enshrining just cause provisions into law, we are not only protecting the sanctity of housing but also fortifying the very foundation of our communities. This measure serves as a cornerstone for stability, fostering environments where families can put down roots, children can attend school without fear of disruption and educators can dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to the task of shaping young minds.”

This session, CEA also worked with labor partners to pass HB24-1260, the Worker Freedom Act, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to attend “captive audience” meetings, where employers are known to espouse union-busting talking points, on company time. CEA’s nearly 40,000 members also sent over 35,000 emails to members of the legislature to make changes to HB24-1448. Before CEA lobbied for changes to the bill, it included several concerning provisions, including a backpack funding study taken directly from ALEC model legislation. Finally, CEA worked on SB24-233 and successfully safeguarded the future of K-12 funding while also working bipartisanly to provide property tax relief to Coloradans across all four corners of the state.

“This legislative session, we worked to significantly improve the lives of Colorado students, their families, and educators across the state and succeeded,” said Baca-Oehlert. “Looking ahead, we’d like to carry this momentum into the fall 2024 election cycle by continuing to elect pro-public education candidates to office who we can work with in subsequent legislative sessions to improve the educational landscape for students across all four corners of the state.”

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About the Colorado Education AssociationThe 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 TwitterFacebook and Instagram

 

 

Bill to Invest in Safety of Public Educators Passes House Education Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2024
Contact: Bethany Morris,
bmorris@coloradoea.org,
432-553-8747

Bill to Invest in Safety of Public Educators Passes House Education Committee

Denver, CO — A bill to invest in the safety of public educators, HB24-1320, Creating a Task Force to Study School Safety Issues, passed the House Education Committee. The bill sponsors are Rep. Meghan Lukens, Rep. Elizabeth Velasco, Sen. Janice Marchman and Sen. Kyle Mullica. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4.

“Now more than ever, our educators need support,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert high school counselor and President of the Colorado Education Association (CEA). “This task force, comprised of people with lived experience in the education system, will go a long way towards ensuring that both our students and educators are safe. When there’s a sense of safety in the learning environment, students and educators are empowered to thrive and excel at their fullest potential.”

HB24-1320 creates a task force comprised of individuals with professional and lived experience in Colorado schools to:

  • Study the impact of state policy, staff shortages and resource inequalities on the safety of public school staff.
  • Develop a set of recommendations that avoids contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline.

A recent survey conducted by CEA found that nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed said that they had experienced physical abuse by a student within the past two years. That same survey found that nearly 58% of educators were considering leaving the profession in the near future. To further the educator shortage crisis, the Colorado Department of Education found that in the 2022-23 school year that, 15% of all teaching and 20% of all school support professional roles in the state were left unfilled.

“We must address the pressing issue of educator safety, and it’s essential that our interventions are thoughtfully designed to avoid worsening the existing school-to-prison pipeline,” said Baca-Oehlert. “We must ensure that our efforts do not inadvertently contribute to the systemic issues already in place, perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage and incarceration among our youth. Therefore, any steps taken must be well-informed, targeted, and aimed at dismantling the structures that fuel this harmful trend rather than inadvertently reinforcing them. I laud the bill sponsors for their work on this vital issue.”

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About the Colorado Education AssociationThe 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 TwitterFacebook and Instagram