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'It's about time,' Polis plans to fully fund schools for first time in 14 years

Proposed budget increase to increase teacher pay and reduce class sizes
Posted at 7:00 PM, Nov 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-02 23:46:47-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — "We are also committed to delivering a budget this year that fully funds our public schools here in Colorado," said Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Polis is proposing a $564 million increase in the state's education budget to do that. If approved, it would end a 2009 practice that allowed lawmakers to divert $10 billion from school funding to other priorities.

The Colorado Springs School District 11 union president said schools haven't been fully funded in 14 years.

"Shouldn't that be an embarrassment to pretty much everybody, especially to the governor who presents himself as an education supporter," said Joe Schott.

Fully funded public K-12 schools would mean more money to districts per student, reduce class sizes, and up teacher pay.

"I'm highly confident," said Polis. "We have a good buy-in from both the Republicans and the Democrats of the joint budget committee to achieve this goal."

Schott said this push to fully fund schools came from teachers. "I'll note that the governor didn't do this just out of the random kindness of his heart."

He said he's glad Polis is listening to them.

"Every bit helps, this is not an inexpensive place to live and if you want your educators to be a part of your community, not just a part of your school, this is a good step," said Schott.

Polis said he plans to invest $8 million toward after-school science programs.

16 schools in the state will get a $50,000 grant from Polis for outstanding achievement in science.

Among them, D20's Pioneers Elementary and D11's Rudy Elementary Schools where students scored 50% higher than average, said Polis.

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