Local Superintendent on Colorado’s K-12 Tax Increase: Money for the Classroom

By Andrew Ujifusa — October 14, 2013 1 min read
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Eagle, Colo.

Jason Glass, the former Iowa state K-12 boss who came back to Colorado to take over as superintendent of Eagle County schools, has a student enrollment of about 6,500 that touches on both ends of the economic spectrum. With ski resorts like Vail and Beaver Creek in his county, Glass has students from very wealthy backgrounds, but also many who are the children of service workers at the ski resorts. And many of the latter are Hispanic and English-language learners. Amendment 66, up for voter approval, would mean a tax increase for many of the parents of those students from affluent backgrounds in Eagle County, but Glass supports the $950 million tax hike (although he isn’t allowed to officially stump for it because of his position).

One of the main points of contention regarding the amendment is to what extent the dollars are earmarked for classrooms and educational programs like arts and sports teams, and not administrative overhead. Although some of the money will specifically fund an expansion of early-education services in the state, such as a guarantee of state support for all-day kindergarten for every Colorado student, districts will have some discretion over how much of the money is spent once it reaches them from the state. Districts like those in Denver and Aurora (a Denver suburb) that have high percentages of low-income students and English-learners will receive more money under the new formula that’s been developed in conjunction with the tax increase, but how they spend that money isn’t necessarily prescriptive.

According to Glass, both the friends and opponents of Amendment 66 have been “misinforming” people on some issues. For example, he says Amendment 66 should be viewed as a “significant tax increase” despite claims to the contrary. But he also says that the money won’t be sucked up by administrative and retirement costs as some opponents say. In the video below, you can see him discussing how Amendment 66 would specifically help his district, which right now he says is only offering a “basic education model.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.