Hick makes friends in education



Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper has plenty of friends. Heck, he's one of the most popular governors in the nation.

Until recently, however, he had precious few friends in the education world. The reasons were plain. The governor made no bones about cutting K-through-12 funding along with the rest of the state budget when things got tight. And to those who saw K-through-12 as a sacred cow, that was unforgivable.

Or was it? A lot has happened since that original budget showdown, most notably, the Lobato case which found that the state government was improperly depriving public schools of critical funding. Since then, the governor has changed his tune and will add money back into the education budget.

And that has helped him pick up a few more friends, like the Colorado Education Association (Colorado Springs School District 11's teachers' union). Their release is below.

A holiday present for Colorado students, schools

DENVER — Students, families and educators across Colorado cheered today when Gov. Hickenlooper announced the state will restore public education funding for previously planned cuts in the K-12 budget for the 2012-13 school year.

“Our students and schools so desperately needed a good-news day, and this is good news,” said Beverly Ingle, president of the Colorado Education Association. “Our governor agrees that great economies start with great education, and made sure education cuts were the first restored with new revenue. We are grateful to his administration for giving top funding priority to our schools. This is a welcomed gift for Colorado kids this holiday season.”

Last week, CEA released recommendations in a ‘path of hope’ for restoring state education funding, following the Lobato ruling ordering the state legislature to address a multi-billion dollar funding gap. Chief among the recommendations: make no additional cuts to state education funding.

“Coloradans still must rise to the challenge of increasing our investment in our children and heeding the call to action so meticulously described in Judge Rappaport’s ruling on the Lobato lawsuit,” said Ingle. “Today’s budget restoration is the first step in the direction we need to go to prepare our students for college, the workforce and their adult lives.”

Public schools are badly in need of budget relief as the state K-12 system is approximately $1 billion behind the level of funding Colorado voters approved with Amendment 23 in 2000. CEA seeks to collaborate with all groups concerned about public education to focus energy in a positive direction that meets the Lobato mandates while preserving the basic integrity of the state budget.

“Coloradans have shown we can rise to meet difficult challenges, and funding the wonderful education system our students deserve is not a problem above our ability to solve,” Ingle added.

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