Dec 7, 2023
Originally published in the Steambot Pilot & Today here.
In the spirit of celebration and appreciation, I am reminded how grateful I am to represent all of you in the state legislature. I am excited for the work ahead this legislative session to continue delivering results for our communities.
This year, we have a historic opportunity to significantly increase funding for K-12 public schools and finally eliminate what is known as the Budget Stabilization Factor, which has reduced state funding for schools since the Great Recession. This landmark investment in our schools will finally meet the long-promised funding levels that Colorado students deserve. It will put more money into classrooms to increase teacher pay and reduce class sizes.
For the last few years, Colorado Democrats have been working hard to increase funding for our schools to put us in the position we are in now. Each year, we have increased funding for schools and gotten closer to eliminating the Budget Stabilization Factor. The increase we are planning this year is badly needed and will set up our state to finally fund schools closer to the levels we need.
For far too long, schools have had to make do with fewer resources than they need, which has led to some of the lowest teacher salaries in the country. These additional dollars will help us recruit and retain new teachers and ensure every student in our community has the resources they need in the classroom to thrive. Under the governor’s budget for next year, the state will fully fund its share of public education, keeping our promise to invest in students’ success and increasing per-pupil funding to an average of $11,317 per student. This commitment to our students and their future is the Western Slope Way.
During our special session last month, we reaffirmed our commitment to our schools while delivering urgent property tax relief. I am proud of the responsible package we passed that will reduce property taxes and protect funding for our schools, fire districts, emergency responders and critical local services our communities rely upon. As a teacher, I know we have to step up to make our state more affordable and prevent teachers from losing their homes because they can’t afford rising property taxes. At the same time, I know how important it is that we protect funding for our schools. It was important to do both, and we did.
I know that the Western Slope Way is why so many of you bring up education when we bump into each other at the grocery store, on the slopes or at a community event. When we support and increase resources for our students, our entire community benefits.
The 2024 legislative session begins on Jan. 10, and I have been working tirelessly with constituents and colleagues from both sides of the political aisle to gear up for the upcoming legislative session. I am committed to serving the people of Eagle, Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, and am looking forward to passing laws this legislative session that deliver results on the issues most important to the people of House District 26, like affordable housing, behavioral health, education and economic prosperity.
I would love to hear from you about education, and any other issues that matter to you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and concerns. If you would like to be added to my newsletter for more frequent legislative updates, feel free to send me an email as well. Follow me on social media to be the first to know when I will be hosting town halls to answer your questions in person.
Let’s keep in touch and keep making a difference in House District 26. Onward!