Letter: Colorado needs to eliminate the budget stabilization factor this year
The Steamboat Springs School District RE-2 Board of Education believes that sustainable and equitable state funding is critical to student success in the 21st century. However, Colorado students have lost out on $10,007,609,464 in state funding over the last fourteen years since the creation of the budget stabilization factor.
According to Great Education Colorado, “the Budget Stabilization or ‘BS’ Factor (formerly known as the ‘Negative’ Factor) is the mechanism used by the legislature to cut school funding below the amount required by Amendment 23, a citizen’s initiative passed by Colorado voters in 2000.”
This factor began in 2009-10 by the Colorado legislature due to the 2008 recession and the economic downturn that resulted in an inability to balance the state’s budget. As a result, the Steamboat Springs School District is owed $29.4 million in total as a result of the budget stabilization factor, and this year alone is owed $985,513.
Several Steamboat Springs Education Associations members and educators in our school district went to the capitol to lobby for education funding in Colorado on Jan. 26. Colorado Education Association, CEA, organizes the day to bring educators to the capitol each year to lobby in support of education funding and policy. Over 60 educators came to Lobby Day from across Colorado representing numerous rural districts. This year, educators were focused on lobbying to end the Budget Stabilization Factor.
Additionally, the SSSD Board of Education recently passed Resolution Number 2023-02-01 in Support of Sustainable and Equitable Funding in Colorado Public Education. Colorado is $3,087 below the national average for per-pupil spending, leading to deficient conditions, large class sizes, outdated textbooks and understaffing in schools. Colorado ranks 50th in teacher wage competitiveness comparing teachers to non-teachers with similar education experience and hours worked, according to the Education Law Center.
Mountain resort communities such as Steamboat Springs are further burdened by the increased cost of living and housing shortages for the workforce. The SSSD Board of Education appeals to the governor and Colorado legislature to eliminate the budget stabilization factor by 2023, to repay $10,007,609,464 owed to public schools, and to commit to fully restore sustainable and equitable education funding.
Katy Lee, Board of Education president; Chresta Brinkman, Board of Education vice president; Lara Craig, Board of Education secretary; Alissa Merage, Board of Education member; Celine Wicks, superintendent; Stephanie Juneau, director of Finance and Operations
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