The Board of Education for Colorado Springs School District 11 voted last night to ask voters to approve the first significant funding increase for the District since the year 2000. The Board adopted an election question for the November 7 ballot seeking $42 million annually to be spent on attracting and keeping great teachers, modernizing and maintaining buildings, updating technology, and other crucial items. Details of the District’s plan can be found at friendsofd11.org/plan.
“District 11 is essential to ensuring a thriving community and the development of a skilled, competitive workforce that’s attractive to employers,” Downtown Partnership President and CEO Susan Edmondson said. “Investing in our city’s largest, most diverse, central school district is an investment in all our futures.”
Edmondson was one of several community leaders including City Councilman Tom Strand and El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker to speak about their support for the funding increase and its importance to Colorado Springs at last night’s Board of Education meeting.
“Many of the District’s schools are over 50 years old. Some of these older schools lack things like flexible floor plans and ways to easily wire in constant new technology. They can also lack energy efficient amenities. As a property owner, I know that maintenance can be deferred only so long before it takes its toll” Schleiker said.
Other community leaders including University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor Emerita Pam Shockley-Zalabak, former Colorado State Senator Bernie Herpin, and El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder sent statements of support to be read publicly. “A lot has changed since Linda and I raised our girls in District 11,” Herpin said in a statement supporting the funding increase. “Now helping to raise our grandchildren in District 11 it is not hard to recognize the critical needs in their classrooms. These kids are our future and we need to make sure that they are equipped and prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s work force.”
Speaking as Co-Chair of the Friends of D11, an issue committee advocating for better funding for District 11, Chancellor Emerita Pam Shockley-Zalabak highlighted the impact the funding increase will have on education in our community. “Quality, excellence and opportunity can and will happen when our community engages and supports our educational institutions,” Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak said. “It’s time Colorado Springs. Please join me and support our schools. Support our kids. Support Colorado Springs School District 11.”
Ensuring healthy and safe learning environments is one of the key reasons El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder supports better funding for District 11. “Providing for school safety by providing a school resource officer at every middle school and high school is and has long been a priority of mine,” Sheriff Elder said. “As a graduate of Palmer High School, I am asking you to join me and support the kids of D11.”