Ever since the Colorado Education Association backed a $2.9 billion tax hike back in August, we’ve wondered how much money and muscle the teachers union would put behind that ballot initiative now known as Prop. 103.
Part of the answer comes from EdNews Colorado, which reported that the CEA “donated $50,000 to the campaign group Support Schools for a Bright Colorado,” as part of total fundraising of $384,947. [Full fundraising report here.]
With 40,000 members and $1.5 million spent in Colorado in the 2010 election cycle, the CEA could – if it chooses – propel Prop. 103, particularly in an off-year election with mail-in ballots.
Today I e-mailed Mike Wetzel, the CEA’s PR guy, to ask if the union planned further support of Prop. 103 “in time or money.”
Here’s how he responded, in part:
“I’m not aware of any CEA plans to contribute more money to Prop 103 beyond the initial $50,000,” wrote Wetzel. “As you probably know, this initiative originally known as Bright Colorado is a grassroots campaign to reverse the trend of public education cuts we’ve seen in Colorado over the past several years, mostly notably $478.5 million over the last two years with more cuts surely to come in the [Governor's] upcoming budget proposal.”
So, as I read it, that may mean no more direct funding by the CEA of the 103 campaign [at least, none that Wetzel's aware of] but somewhat less clear on what the CEA will be doing to get out the vote, particularly as ballots begin to drop this week.
“CEA is not a founder nor a driving force behind this movement, but we are a committed partner that will work with the rest of our coalition partners to make voters aware of the issues and ask for their vote in securing more funds to help provide students the quality education they deserve.”
State Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, last month discussed what he hoped the CEA might do for Prop. 103…
“This is not a big glitzy campaign,” he said. “This is a grassroots campaign. The help I hope we get from CEA is every teacher explaining what so many teachers have done to me – and the one that stands out to me is the 8th grade science teacher who came up to me and said, ‘My class size has now gone from 25 to 42 in an 8th grade science class, and I’m dealing with, you know, Bunsen burners, chemicals, all those kinds of things.”
Heath may pile up the anecdotes, but we’ve documented in so many ways why Prop. 103 is so wrong: it won’t fix the problem; there’s little accountability for the money spent; and it proposes raising income and sales taxes for five years at a time of 8.5 percent unemployment statewide.
There’s NO WAY that Prop. 103 should win voter approval.