Prop 119 a scam that robs schools 

Supporters of Prop 119 are misleading voters. Their misguided proposal would cut millions of dollars that support classroom supplies, educational programming and teacher salaries to pay for privatized education services, including religious-based institutions. 

Work should be undertaken to properly fund public education, not take money out of classrooms where teachers often use personal funds to buy textbooks and school supplies. The measure was crafted by dark money conservative groups to sound great, but in reality, Prop 119 is a tax hike and creates an unelected, unaccountable board with sole discretion for spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  

These private programs would syphon off almost $56 million from our schools in the first year, growing to $138 million by 2024-25. The annual budget of this new bureaucracy would equal nearly twice the annual budget of the entire Colorado Department of Education. Public education dollars must stay in public schools so we can recruit and retain the best teachers – not create more bureaucracy.  

This measure is not in the best interests of our kids or taxpayers. It would allow the newly created board to give themselves exorbitant salaries without any oversight. In addition, there is no guarantee it would help our most vulnerable students. The private providers selected by the board could simply refuse to serve students with disabilities or other groups of disadvantaged children. 

In addition to taking marijuana taxes, this measure would redirect millions from the State Land Trust, which was designed to fund public education, particularly for rural children, and deliver it into private hands. This siphoning likely violates the Enabling Act of the Colorado Constitution, which has protected State Land Trust money for public schools for more than 150 years. The measure would be devastating to local school districts, which are already among the most poorly-funded in the nation, ranking 47th in per-pupil spending. Rural Colorado would suffer disproportionately, and current teacher shortages would become even worse. 

Prop 119 is a scam that reduces our students’ chances of success by taking money from our public schools and giving it to private providers to do whatever they choose: teach inaccurate history, allow religious groups to indoctrinate our kids with extreme ideas, or whatever. For more info, see https://noonprop119.com. 

Learning Opportunities for Colorado’s Kids is leading the “Yes on Prop 119” campaign. The committee reported $1.85 million in contributions and $1.67 million in expenditures. Gary Community Investment Co. gave $1.45 million and, together with Ready Colorado, were the source of 94% of the contributions. Who are these groups and why are they spending all this money?

Prop 119 is opposed by Taxpayers for Public Education, a Colorado-based, bipartisan, 501(c)(4) organization whose members are parents of children enrolled in public schools. In opposing the initiative, they said “(Prop 119) is a school voucher scheme that would undermine Colorado’s public schools and potentially divert money into private institutions that could discriminate against students based on their religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, or heritage.” The measure is also opposed by Coloradans Against School Vouchers and the Colorado AFL-CIO.

Don’t be fooled. Public education is not for sale and we will not be deceived. Vote no on Prop 119. 

– Carol Cure, Durango