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Hickenlooper, Beauprez talk education funding during debate

Gov. John Hickenlooper and his Republican opponent Congressman Bob Beauprez agreed at a debate Tuesday night that Colorado needed to see more money from Washington to fund the state’s public schools.

But Hickenlooper cautioned: Looking to Washington for money is a fool’s errand. Complicated formulas and logistics, not the demands of a governor, dictate how much money states receive see returned from the federal government, the governor said.

Colorado sees about 84 cents of every dollar it sends to Washington return, Beauprez said at The Denver Post debate.

“I want to get the money, Joey, that we sent to Washington in the first place,” Beauprez said, speaking directly to one of the moderators, when the debate turned to funding Colorado’s public schools. “We’re not talking about small change here. If Colorado could just move up to the middle of the pack among the 50 states, instead of being ranked 50th, check the Census data, 50th right now, we’ve fallen from 42 to 50th. We’re talking about tens of millions, hundreds of millions, every single year, that are being left on the table.”

According to polls, Hickenlooper and Beauprez are locked in a statistical tie as Coloradans soon head to the polls.

The governor, who last year supported a constitutional amendment that would have raised $1 billion for K-12 schools, said the voters were clear when they soundly defeated it.

“[T]hey want to see smaller, local based funding for their schools,” Hickenlooper said. “They want to make sure they control what can happen in their schools — how much is going to go to teachers, how much is goes to the building”

The governor praised a school transparency bill that was resurrected out of the Amendment 66 loss.

In his rebuttal, Beauprez pledged to expedite student achievement, especially third grade reading levels.

“We’re going to bring opportunity to every child that has a chance to learn how to read,” Beauprez said.