New education report paints dire picture of Colorado public schools

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DENVER — A new report by the Colorado Education Association paints a dire picture of education funding in the state of Colorado.

“This is the first time we have released a state of education report,” Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the CEA, said Thursday.

The report ranks Colorado as 47th in the country for teacher pay, 42nd in the country for per-pupil funding and 51st in the country (including the District of Columbia) for teacher wage competitiveness.

According to report, 50% of teachers in Colorado want to go on strike.

“We have the worst pay gap for educators in the country. So a teacher teaching in Colorado could literally move to Louisiana tomorrow and increase their pay earnings by 50 percent,” Baca-Oehlert said.

The report comes out a little more than a week after voters rejected another education funding measure at the polls. Proposition CC would have given over $100 million to lawmakers to address education issues.

“It was a kick in the morale but I do think there are things the Colorado Legislature can and should be doing,” Baca-Oehlert said.

At the State Capitol, Democratic State Rep. Matt Gray said the issue is, lawmakers do not have unlimited funds.

“Where they are coming from is fair, I agree with them,” Gray said, adding, “The reality is, we are a fiscally constrained state with a certain amount of revenue and we have to balance our budget.”

Baca-Oehlert says more teacher strikes are possible.

“I do think we can see strikes in Colorado,” she said.

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