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‘On right path’ to funding education

Just over two years ago, on a cold, blustery day in March, more than 100 students, teachers and families marched down Main Avenue in Durango and rallied to end the Budget Stabilization Factor.

Introduced by the Colorado Legislature in 2009 to balance the state budget by “borrowing” from education, it was intended to address the economic downturn created by the Great Recession. But the unintended consequences were overcrowded classrooms, underpaid educators and a huge loss in resources for students and families.

When a plethora of snapped pencils were found on the classroom floor, it resulted in a discussion with my history students about limited resources. Students dove into researching the role of government, the responsibility of the Legislature to balance the state budget and opportunities for civic action. They made signs, wrote speeches and insisted that we try to make a change.

Despite their outrage and passion, I remember a student asking, “Ms. Hannah, can we even make a difference?” Well, I am proud to say that actions initiated by kids eventually make a difference!

Colorado lawmakers just eliminated the BS factor, which will result in schools being fully funded for the first time in 15 years.

We still have a lot of work to do to address years of underfunding, including investing in educator pay and infrastructure, but we are on the right path.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support public education. Can we make a difference? Together, yes, we can!

Hannah Squire