This letter is to my peers in the high-tech community.
K-12 education in Colorado is being decimated. The ongoing budget cuts are not cutting education to the bone, they're lopping off major appendages. The future of Colorado will be determined by the educational level of our citizens. And at present we're headed toward mediocrity.
Proposition 103 on this November's ballot will return sales tax rates to those of 1993. Remember 1993? The era of Clinton, peace, and prosperity? The increase in taxes will add up to about one Latte/week per person.
Will this make our K-12 schools superb? No. But it will have a significant positive effect, for two reasons. First, it will undo cuts that have clearly reduced the quality of our K-12 system. Second, the legislature last year passed SB-191 which is bringing on some very effective changes to the system (including the ability to fire poor teachers). But implementing SB-191 will cost money.
I could give a detailed argument as to what we gain from an improved K-12 system. But I don't think that's needed because we all face this every day as we're trying to find qualified people to hire. Our state's shortage of educated workers is the biggest limiting factor for high-tech businesses in this state. And the only way to address this is to graduate more students from High School ready for College.
Passing proposition 103 is a game changer for our state, turning our education funding from a race to the bottom into one that with adequate funding for the schools and implementing SB-191 will put us on the road to being a leader in this century. It's rare that we have a chance to directly have this level of impact.
So what can you do? Two things. First winning elections costs money (unfortunate but true). Make a donation to the Yes on 103 campaign. If all you can afford is $5.00, then donate $5.00. But donate what you comfortably can. And businesses as well as individuals can donate, with no limit.
Second, talk to your friends and neighbors. Most people understand that education is the key to a good job and degrading our schools is sentencing children to a lifetime of economic poverty.
The one recent poll shows support for this statistically tied. If we in the high tech community step up, we can pass this. (And for those that don't make a donation – no more bitching about your inability to find qualified people to hire.)
Thanks - dave