GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Despite being disappointed at the overwhelming defeat of Amendment 66 by Colorado voters Tuesday, Roaring Fork School District officials said their focus continues to be on furthering the district’s efforts to improve local schools.
“This doesn’t change our fundamental responsibility for us, or any other school board, to provide the best education possible for every child,” Roaring Fork Re-1 school board President Matthew Hamilton said.
“It does mean we have to go back and talk to our elected officials and the state board of education, and to have some deep conversations with the electorate about the challenges facing state education funding,” he said.
Statewide, voters rejected Amendment 66 with about 66 percent opposed to 34 percent in favor, based on unofficial results of Tuesday’s election. In Garfield County, with most of the ballots counted, the measure was shot down 68 to 32 percent.
The measure would have created a progressive state income tax, raising the rate from a flat rate of 4.3 percent to 5 percent for those earning up to $75,000, and to 5.9 percent above that income level.
It would have raised an additional $950 million annually to fund K-12 education, including funding for full-day kindergarten across the state and more opportunities for qualified children to attend state-supported preschool.
The proposal would have meant about $4 million in additional funding annually for Roaring Fork Re-1 schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.
Re-1 Superintendent Diana Sirko said she was surprised the measure was rejected by such a large margin.
“I don’t think people were comfortable with the progressive tax, and the fact that it would be in the state constitution,” Sirko said.
“We’re profoundly disappointed, but we will keep doing all that we can for kids,” she said. “Hopefully, we can get the funding problems on the state level figured out.”
Amendment 66 was intended to fund the provisions of Senate Bill 213, which was passed by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper earlier this year. The Legislature has until 2017 to find a way to fund the measures included in the bill.
“We do have to look very carefully at what people thought were the most contentious issues, and go back to the drawing board,” Sirko said.