Opinion: Laura McDonald-Our communities depend on our public schools; vote yes on Amendment 73

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Strong public schools do more than educate students. They impact our local
economies, affect our property values, attract businesses, build community,
support public safety, and hold the future of America. Whether you have
children in school or not, the quality of your public schools will impact
your quality of life and they are worth our investment.

This November, Colorado voters have the opportunity to increase our
investment in our public schools by $1.6 billion with Amendment 73.
Amendment 73 would implement a graduated income tax impacting households
earning more than $150,000 of taxable income per year, increase the
corporate tax rate from 4.63% to 6.0%, and freeze assessment rates on our
homes to stabilize the local contribution of property taxes for education.

According to Education Week, statewide, Colorado is spending $2,800 less
per student than the national average. With over 900,000 PreK-12 students
enrolled in public schools in 2017 that is a difference of $2.5 billion per
year. Amendment 73 will help move our state closer to the national average.

A joint report by Rutgers University and the Education Law Center compares
average teacher salaries with those of their non-teacher counterparts. The
study ranked Colorado as least competitive in the nation, with our teachers
earning about 30% less than their counterparts. It is not surprising that
we are experiencing a teacher shortage in Colorado. Our number of graduates
from teacher preparation programs has fallen by nearly 25% over the past
five years and thousands of teaching positions go unfilled.

We can do better. All communities, in every school district, depend on
strong public schools. Please join me in voting yes on Amendment 73 as we
come together to invest in and grow the best public schools Colorado can
provide.

Laura McDonald

Niwot, CO

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