Forum introduces candidates, talks Amendment 66

Posted 10/23/13

With mail-in ballots out the door, Adams 12 Five Star School District residents had an opportunity to learn about the school board members during a …

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Forum introduces candidates, talks Amendment 66


With mail-in ballots out the door, Adams 12 Five Star School District residents had an opportunity to learn about the school board members during a candidate forum, before deciding who to vote for in this year’s election. The forum, Oct. 17, was hosted by the District School Improvement Team, DSIT, and was attended by school board candidates Joshua Bastian, David Elliott, Kathy Plomer, Rico Figueroa and Amy Speers. Debbie Christensen was unable to attend. Each candidate gave a five-minute introduction followed by an open-forum layout giving parents and community members the opportunity to speak one-on-one with each candidate.

The forum also featured an Amendment 66 discussion with speakers from both sides of the issue. On the November ballot, Amendment 66 is asking voters to approve an income tax increase to raise money for pre-school to 12th grade education. If approved it would raise $950 million for Colorado schools. The cost to tax payers is about $133 per year for the average family.

Lauren Arnold, a volunteer with a Greater Education Colorado, a statewide, nonpartisan, grassroots organization that is focused on improving education in Colorado, spoke about the benefits of the Amendment 66. Arnold, who is also with Colorado Commits to Kids, the proponent of the measure, said the revenue raised from the state tax increase will be locked in a the new State Education Achievement Fund where it can only be used for education reform, rural schools, classroom technology, early childhood education, full-time kindergarten and preschool, gifted and talented students, at-risk students and English language learners.

“One of the most important things for Colorado to do is invest in high-quality education for our kids,” Arnold said. “We need to make a commitment to the next generation to reduce class size, get better teachers into classrooms and provide more modern technology. This will give our kids a chance to be successful and can be done through Amendment 66.”

On the other end of the spectrum was Krista Kafer, director of Colorado’s Future Project and co-host of Backbone Radio. She is voting no on Amendment 66 because she believes Colorado Commits to Kids hasn’t been straightforward in their pitch for more money. If the measure is passed, the income tax rate of 4.63 percent, which is the same for all Coloradoans, will increase to 5 percent for income up to $75,000 and to 5.9 percent for income above that threshold. Kafer said she believes it’s unfair for the increase to not be the same for all residents of the state.

“The measure also claims spending more will improve outcomes, but that is a false promise,” Kafer said. “According to the Lobato vs. State of Colorado case, there’s no consistent relationship between school resources and school achievement.”

For those who couldn’t make the candidate forum, visit the district website,, to learn more about each candidate and to learn the facts about Amendment 66.


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