Inadequate Funding

Persistent Low Pay, Low Per Pupil Funding

Money matters in public education – and Colorado is lacking.

Current research clearly shows that more funding means consistently better outcomes for students – higher test scores, higher graduation rates and sometimes higher wages as adults – as confirmed by this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to a team researching the positive relationship between funding and student achievement.


As of the 2021-2022 school year, Colorado owes almost $10 BILLION to our public schools.

Bar chart showing the cumulative Budget Stabilization Factor each year

The budget stabilization – or BS Factor – for the 2019-2020 school year was $572 million and in 2021-2022 is $571 million. That means that this year, public schools are receiving half a billion dollars less than what they should have, given Amendment 23 requirements, inflation and student enrollment changes. At this point, schools have lost out on almost $10 billion dollars over the last 13 years, which means a senior in high school today has never experienced a fully-funded public education.

Per pupil funding is too low.

Colorado earned an embarrassing D+ in per pupil funding in Ed Week’s most recent analysis. As of 2019, Colorado was $2,158 below the national average, or more than 16% below the national average, for per pupil spending. This leads to deficient conditions – too-large class sizes, outdated textbooks and understaffing in schools.

Bar chart showing per pupil spending for Colorado compared to the national average and other states

Educator pay is also too low.

The National Education Association found that Colorado is ranked 48th for starting pay in 2021, making it difficult to attract talented new educators.This year, ranked Colorado 49th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. for competitive teacher pay, which is almost 6% less than other professions. This poses a serious challenge for educator retention.


Colorado’s ranking out of all 50 states and Washington, DC for competitive teacher pay according to

What Educators Are Saying

“I personally finance much of my classroom needs. I spend $5,000 to $8,000 each year for items I need to do my job well. As more and more student needs are being supported by the school and in the classroom funding needs to greatly increase to meet those needs.”

What Educators Are Saying

“Educational funding would allow for more help and support for the students who are behaviorally challenged and on IEPs. We need more help! In my grade alone, 1/3 of our students are on an IEP and another 1/4 are on BIPs and 504s. There is 1 para for our grade and she is shared with another grade level. Co-teaching is next to impossible in these conditions.”

What Educators Are Saying

“When the teachers I mentor struggle to survive in this area with skyrocketing rental and home prices, it makes me mad that our state is still at the bottom of the pack in terms of funding. How is this possible in a state with a booming economy and droves of people flocking to Colorado to live? The money is going somewhere and it is clear the priority is not education.