By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – As thousands of teachers storm the state Capitol to protest a lack of funding, some lawmakers are questioning the timing.

(credit: CBS)

This month, they approved the biggest increase in education funding in a decade. The state will spend about $6 billion on K-12 education next school year, which is $600 million more than last year. The additional funding comes after eight consecutive years of increases in education funding. Colorado now spends an average of $13,000 per student — state and local funds combined — or $273,000 for the average 21 student classroom.

“We’re working hard to fund education now its time to find out why that money is not going to teachers and that’s back on our local school boards and their superintendents,” said Republican state Sen. Owen Hill. He’s Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Democratic state Rep. Brittany Pettersen is chair of the House Education Committee. They are the two most influential state lawmakers on education policy and funding. But while they have control over how much money schools get, they have no say over how its spent. School boards decide the budget, including teacher pay. Colorado ranks 31st in the country for teacher pay with the average salary about $52,000.

“I agree they should be paid more. That really comes down to local districts and the salaries that they set,” said Pettersen.

The Colorado Department of Education says since 2010, the number of students in Colorado has grown by 7 percent, while the number of teachers has grown by 10 percent and the number of school administrators has grown by 22 percent.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

Comments (2)
  1. Even with that funding increase compared to the nation Colorado is still far behind in funding & pay. Check out this video
    The funding that has been given still is not enough to adequately teacher our students, for teachers to only have to work 1 job instead of two in order to keep up with the cost of living, and don’t forget about our PERA.

  2. Shoddy report. Where did you get the figure that Colorado is ranked 31st in teacher pay, when all other sources I’ve seen say they’re 46th in teacher pay? I’d love to know your source. Also, this story is completely one-sided, not interviewing any teachers or other education professionals to get their input.

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