The 2010 elections have ended with good news for education on the financial front, a business-oriented Democratic governor, a brand new look for the legislature and apparent stability on the State Board of Education and the University of Colorado Board of Regents.
The highlights were defeat of tax-cutting amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 and voter support in many districts for bond issues and tax override proposals.
The outlook for education and budget issues at the Capitol won’t become clearer until new Gov. John Hickenlooper and new legislative leaders, especially majority Republicans in the House, start fleshing out their programs.
Parts of this section contains background material prepared before the election. Use these links to jump to sections of interest to you:
Recent EdNews stories
Voters say yes to districts
Nov. 5 – Despite the lingering recession and mid-term malaise, voters mostly said yes to school district tax increases this year. Read story
Nov. 4 – Legislative party caucuses have picked their leaders for the 2011 session, but the composition of the House and Senate education committees is still up in the air. Read story
Nov. 3 – Democratic incumbent Angelika Schroeder won election to the State Board of Education, and CU Regent incumbent Steve Bosley overcame a strong challenger to keep his seat. Read story
Oct. 28 – If history, voter registration and fund raising are any indications, the State Board of Education after Tuesday’s election will look similar to the board that’s been operating for the last two years.. Read story
Oct. 19 – With the 2010 election two weeks away, the peak of the campaign fund raising season has passed, but there still were some interesting developments in the latest contribution and spending filings, including in a State Board of Education race. Read story
Related stories on campaign fund raising:
- Stand for Children backs endorsements with cash
- Union contributions ramp up
- War chest raised early to fight three measures
Oct. 5 – Despite the fragile economy and perceived voter grumpiness about taxes, 33 Colorado school districts are seeking tax increases in this election, for construction bonds, operating revenue or to provide Amendment 61 escape hatches. Read story
Sept. 28 – The Colorado Education Association may be the 800-pound education group in Colorado politics, but that doesn’t mean other interest groups aren’t trying to weigh in on 2010 legislative races. To get a sense for who’s supporting whom, Education News Colorado reviewed legislative candidate contributions by the CEA-affiliated Public Education Committee and the AFT Colorado Federation of Teachers, School, Health and Public Employees Small Donor Committee, along with endorsements or contributions by three other groups. Read story, charts
Aug. 30 – School funding will remain tight, Democrat John Hickenlooper warned Monday as he unveiled his plans for education if he’s elected governor.
“We’re not going to throw money at the problem,” the Denver mayor said during a news conference at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton with running mate Joe Garcia, president of Colorado State University-Pueblo.
“There is no appetite” among the public for new taxes, Hickenlooper said. Read story, with video
News from other sources
- Harrison recall effort misses deadline
- Scientist, educator vie in State Board 6th district
- Roaring Fork urges no vote on three budget-cutting amendments
- Hicklooper, Maes disagree on school funding during Pueblo forum
- Poudre bond issue would go mostly for repairs
- 1st District regent candidates air views
- Education spending crops up in treasurer candidates’ debate
- St. Vrain board opposes three amendments
- Summit board on record against 60, 61 and 101
- Opponent: Poll shows public currently support three amendments
- Aurora board opposes 60, 61 and 101
- Roaring Fork board condemns three ballot measures
- Estes Park board approves ballot language for A61 bond measure
- Cripple Creek reduces mill-levy request
- Judge rules Doug Bruce must testify about involvement in 3 amendments
Guide to candidates and measures
• John Hickenlooper (D)
– Education policy statement
• Don Maes (R)
– Education policy statement (middle of page)
• Tom Tancredo (American Constitution)
– General issues page, including link to video on homeschooling
Proposed state amendments
Amendment 60 – The constitutional amendment would require school districts to halve their property tax rates by 2020, not including taxes levied for debt, such as bond issues. The state would be required to cover the lost revenue.
Future property tax rate increases would expire after 10 years, and extension would be subject to voter approval. Recent actions such as the 2007 property tax “freeze” would be repealed.
It also would allow citizen-initiated measures to reduce property taxes, allow property owners to vote on tax issues even if they aren’t residents of a jurisdiction and impose property taxes on government enterprises and authorities.
Amendment 61 – The constitutional amendment would ban all forms of borrowing by state government, including certificates of participation. All local government borrowing would have to be approved by voters, new debt would have to be repaid within 10 years and taxes would have to be reduced after a debt is repaid.
Proposition 101 – The proposed change to state law would, over time, reduce specific ownership taxes on vehicles to $2 for new vehicles and $1 for used ones, limit title and license fees to $10 a year and abolish taxes on vehicle rentals and leases.
The state income tax rate would be reduced from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent over several years, and telecommunications taxes, except for a 911 fee, would be abolished.
Pro: The measures are backed by a low-profile group of anti-tax activists including Natalie Menten of Lakewood, who maintains a website that tracks alleged government waste, and Douglas Campbell, who has run unsuccessfully for several state offices as an American Constitution Party candidate. Campbell once worked as an aide to TABOR author Doug Bruce when Bruce was a state representative. Website
Con: Coloradans for Responsible Reform, a coalition of business and civic groups, is opposing the measures. Several local governments, school boards and other education boards are formally opposing the three proposals. Website
School district ballot measures
More than 30 Colorado schools districts this fall are proposing bond issues, mill levy overrides of Amendment 61-related ballot measures. Get the details in this story, including a link to the full list. Here’s a list of some of the major proposals:
- Aspen – $1.2 million override
- Boulder Valley – $22.5 million override
- Brighton – $3.2 million override
- Durango – $3.2 million override
- Falcon – $125 million bond
- Littleton – $12 million override
- Mapleton – $32 million bond issue (match for $32 million BEST grant)
- Poudre – $16 million override, $120 million bond
- Salida – $17.9 million bond issue (match for $12.5 million BEST grant)
State Board of Education
University of Colorado Board of Regents
Races listed include those where an incumbent serves on the House or Senate education committee and those where a candidate has an education background, such as teaching or school board service. If a candidate’s name isn’t linked, it means we couldn’t find a website.
District 31 (southeast Denver)
- Clifton Powell (American Constitution)
- Doug Smith (R)
- Pat Steadman (D, appointed incumbent, education committee member)
District 32 (east Denver)
District 33 (northwest Denver)
District 34 (northeast Denver)
- Michael Johnston (D, appointed incumbent, education committee member)
- Lisa Ringle (R)
District 16 (El Paso County)
- Larry Liston (R, incumbent)
- Janet Tanner (D, District 11 board member)
District 22 (Jefferson County)
District 24 (Jefferson County)
District 29 (Jefferson County)
District 30 (Adams County)
District 31 (Adams County)
- Tom Janich (R, former Brighton board member)
- Judy Solano (D, incumbent and education committee vice chair)
District 35 (Jefferson County)
District 41 (Arapahoe County/Aurora)
House 43 (Douglas County/Highlands Ranch)
District 45 (Douglas County)
- Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock and an education committee member, is unopposed.
District 47 (Pueblo County)
District 49 (Larimer County)
District 51 (Larimer County)
District 56 (Eagle, Lake and Summit counties)
District 60 (South-central mountains from Park to Custer counties)