Each school board member expressed full support for the measure and a deep frustration that the state has underfunded education for so long. A similar resolution is being passed and considered by other districts across the region and the board expressed hope that by speaking up and joining forces with staff, unions, and other districts we can help move the needle on this important issue. The Board will continue to watch for potential legislation that may address this issue for opportunities to further advocate for fully funding public education.
WHEREAS the Durango School District 9-R Board of Education believes that every student deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential as an individual through quality Public Education; and
WHEREAS in 2010, the Colorado legislature borrowed one billion dollars from public education funding for the purposes of economic recovery during the Great Recession, and for the 2021-2022 school year it underfunded public education by $572,000,000, and to the date of this resolution owes K-12 public schools $9,752,970,086; and
WHEREAS the State of Colorado enjoys one of the top five economies in the nation, but during the last 12 years, salaries of educators and services to children have stagnated to a point that prior to the pandemic Colorado was ranked at the bottom of the nation in funding public education; and
WHEREAS prior to the pandemic Colorado was experiencing an educator shortage. This crisis had its greatest impact on rural communities, and communities of poverty where certified teacher and support staff salaries lag far behind Front Range salaries, and the cost of living in mountain communities has grown exponentially; and
WHEREAS expecting local districts to backfill their budgets by passing mill levy overrides and bond measures has severely limited the education in those communities that cannot afford and/or do not have enough taxpayer support to pass a local tax in favor of those more affluent communities that can; and
WHEREAS the Budget Stabilization factor has resulted in cuts that impact:
1 – Student mental health (Colorado ranks 6th in teen suicide)
2 – Achievement gaps that are amongst the highest in the country, and
3 – Student contact with education professionals (60% of Colorado districts are on a 4-day school week); and
WHEREAS due to the ongoing pandemic, Colorado schools will require more revenue to fully operate and support students due to:
1 – a lack of WiFi and internet access for more than 100,000 students,
2 – the need for catch up learning to close achievement gaps intensified by impacts of COVID-19, and
3 – the need for increased resources to address students’ mental health and support for their social-emotional well-being; and
WHEREAS the pandemic has exacerbated the impact of inadequate state education funding in various ways including: educator shortages, increased cost of living, housing shortages for educators, widening the poverty gap and the disparity between urban and rural districts; and
WHEREAS the Durango School District is owed $60,828,942 as a result of the Budget Stabilization factor; and
WHEREAS the Durango School District 9-R Board of Education recognizes that this is a matter of urgent local and statewide concern.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Durango School District Board of Education declares its commitment to advocate for the elimination of the Budget Stabilization factor by 2022.