Editorial: Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 66 | AspenTimes.com

Editorial: Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 66

As much pride as the Aspen community takes in its educational system — U.S. News & World Report ranked Aspen High School No. 1 in the state and No. 59 in the country in 2012 — there are many schools throughout the rest of Colorado that aren’t nearly as fortunate.

This is where Amendment 66 comes in. It’s certainly not perfect and won’t be the panacea to Colorado’s educational woes. But it is a well-intended, ambitious effort to get the state’s academic system on the right track.

Amendment 66 aims to raise annual state taxes by $950 million through a hike of 4.63 to 5 percent for those who make less than $75,000 a year and 5.9 percent for every dollar above that figure.

More than $600 million in existing funds would be repurposed through Amendment 66, giving the state more than $1.5 billion to contribute toward education.

The biggest portion, nearly $774 million, would go toward students, including those who are academically disadvantaged or are English-language learners. Another $165.5 million would allow kindergartners across the state to attend school five days a week. Small and rural districts also would reap $130.2 million from Amendment 66, while charter schools would see $31.9 million dedicated to their facilities.

Passage of Amendment 66 also would trigger Senate Bill 213. Passed last spring, SB 213’s intention is to create funding among all of Colorado’s 178 school districts, but it cannot take effect without the tax hike that comes with Amendment 66.

Should voters pass Amendment 66, that doesn’t mean Colorado should stop looking at school-funding formulas. And as complicated as Amendment 66 is, for us, its end result is fairly simple: to provide every child in Colorado with the best chance of succeeding academically.

This landmark amendment, as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, would make Colorado the “educational model for every other state to follow.”

We urge a “yes” vote on Amendment 66, either through mail-in ballot or at the polls on Tuesday.