Dave Ulrich: Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 73, Measure 4A
In August, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office approved Amendment 73 for the November 2018 ballot. This is the first statewide education revenue measure developed by a large and diverse coalition to help Moffat County School District benefit from Colorado’s economic growth. As a member of a great, student-centered team that works every day to make sure MCSD is serving our students and families in the best way possible, I am asking you to learn about this measure and vote yes on Amendment 73.
Colorado has one of the leading economies in the United States, yet our school funding levels continue to lag behind the rest of the country by roughly $2,800 per student. Our teacher pay is the least competitive in the nation, and MCSD struggles every year to recruit and retain qualified teachers.
Amendment 73 was developed by more than 20 community organizations with input from hundreds of parents, teachers, educators, and local leaders across Colorado. If successful, Amendment 73 would generate $2.6 million in additional annual revenue. According to the MCSD Board of Education Amendment 73 resolution, “… if Amendment 73 passes, the board commits to focusing on the following priorities: capital improvements and competitive salaries.”
We have a proven track record of living within our means with our operating funds. The 2018-19 school year marks the second year of the nearly $1 million Early Literacy Grant from the Colorado Department of Education. This covers the cost of reading resources, provides professional development for teachers, and includes two full-time literacy coaches.
Due to the success of the iPad initiative for our fifth- through eighth-grade students, the Board of Education approved expanding the effort to include all high school students. During this school year, there will be a $350,000 investment in the high school’s Vocational-Agricultural (Vo-Ag) Building. The original, 40-year-old ventilation system will be replaced, and outdated and obsolete equipment will be upgraded to meet current industry standards. A third Vo-Ag teacher has been added to the staff to accommodate the growing program.
All our elementary schools will implement the Project Lead the Way Launch curriculum. PLTW Launch is a nationally recognized approach to engaging students in science, technology, engineering and math related learning.
We were able to accomplish these things within our current budget. We have accomplished much within our current funding. We can do even more for our students if Amendment 73 passes!
The main source of funding for this proposal comes from an increase in the income tax rate for tax filers with taxable income of more than $150,000. Over 90 percent of Colorado tax filers will not pay any rate increase. The proposal will also include revenue from a 1.7-percentage point tax increase on most corporations. In addition, Amendment 73 will reduce inequities between residential and non-residential property owners by both stabilizing the residential assessment rate and lowering the nonresidential assessment rate.
Taken as a whole, successful passage of Amendment 73 will ensure our strong economy benefits students and families in Moffat County.
Referred Measure 4A will also appear on the ballot for the 2018 election. If adopted, it will replace the board’s current configuration of seven district representatives to a configuration with five district representatives and two at-large members.
For nearly a year now, the MCSD Board of Education has governed the district with a vacancy. We have actively sought a representative from District 6. Moving to a model that has two at-large representatives will provide a greater opportunity to ensure a full board. Keeping five districts will also preserve representation from all parts of Moffat County.
Dave Ulrich is superintendent of the Moffat County School District.