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Denver, Aurora boards endorse Amendment 66

Update: The Denver Board of Education voted 6-1 Monday night to endorse Amendment 66. The lone dissenting vote came from board member Andrea Merida, following an effort to amend the endorsement to specify that no funds could be used on anything related to the Common Core. Her addition to the amendment failed to pass a board vote, 3-4.

The Aurora Board of Education this week voted 7-0 to endorse Amendment 66, the state ballot measure that would raise state income taxes by $950 million to provide additional funding for PRE-12 education. (Read the board’s resolution here.)

The 38,000-student Aurora district would gain an estimated $1,171 per student on top of the $6,933 it currently receives from state and local revenues. That’s a 16.9 percent increase. The average increase statewide would be 11.6 percent.

Senate Bill 13-213, the law that would be funded by Amendment 66, would shift some funding to districts with large populations of at-risk students and English language learners. Aurora’s student body is 67.8 percent at-risk, including preschool students.

The Durango, Englewood and Greeley boards also have endorsed the amendment, according to a list maintained by Colorado Commits to Kids, the main group supporting the ballot measure. Colorado has 178 school districts.

One source told EdNews this week that some school boards are divided on the issue or are sensitive to community divisions, and “A lot of them perhaps would not bring it to a vote.”

The Colorado Association of School Boards has endorsed the amendment and provided a sample resolution for boards to consider. (The Aurora resolution pretty much uses the CASB language verbatim.)

The State Board of Education, with a 4-3 Republican majority, is not expected to endorse the amendment but is planning to hear presentations from supporters and opponents during its Oct. 9-10 meeting.