On Tuesday, November 6th, voters in Colorado and across the nation hit the voting booths to submit their midterm election ballots. There were a multitude of issues addressed on this year’s ballot, many of which directly impact Coloradans and even high schoolers. The votes have been casted and the results are now known, so it is important to look at both the positive and negative repercussions of each bill passed, and how they may influence the lives of Chaparral students.
Amendment 73 was a ballot issue expected to have one of the greatest direct impacts on public school students in Colorado. Hours after polls closed on Nov. 6th, the official verdict was announced, stating that Coloradans rejected Amendment 73 by a 55% to 45% margin. By voting ‘yes’ on Amendment 73, citizens would support the increase of taxes for individuals making more than $150K annually, which will supposedly amount to approximately $1.6 billion. The sum collected from the tax hike is intended to fund educational programs, with $120 million set to go to special education programs, $20 million to English Language Proficiency, $10 million to gifted and talented programs, and an expected $7,300 increase of base per pupil budgets. Opposers of Amendment 73 claim that the tax increase will not fix the failures of the education system, and that the proposed increase itself is so drastic that it may have a monumental impact on many families. Based on the results, it is evident that the majority of Colorado voters were not in favor of the tax increase, and the outcome of that verdict may ultimately reflect itself in the conditions of our public schools for the years to come.
Proposition 112, although not directly related to the education system, may also have a notable influence on schools and students. Colorado voters rejected Prop. 112, with only about 42% support. Proposition 112 was intended to prohibit the construction of oil & gas sites within half a mile of schools, fields, playgrounds, homes, and other public/living areas. Supporters agreed that the large and potentially hazardous machinery used in the fracking process is not suitable landscape for children and families. Many opposers of the proposition were concerned about the impact that the restrictions would have on those employed by the fracking industry, which has boosted Colorado’s economy immensely in recent years. Passing Prop. 112 would result in an expected tax revenue loss of $7 billion, which would reduce school budgets, especially in poorer districts. The Proposition failing means that future oil & gas sites will be held to the state’s current standards.
In terms of general verdicts reached during midterms, the next governor of Colorado will be Democrat Jared Polis, who is also the first openly gay & Jewish governor in US history. Additionally, previous CO representative Mike Coffman was voted out of his senate position, with Democrat Jason Crow as his successor.
The issues voted upon during the 2018 Midterm Election will undoubtedly impact the lives of all citizens state and nation wide. The emphasis on education in this election specifically forecasts some major changes in Colorado school districts, many of which will change the public school experience for generations of students to come, and all results signify that change is on the horizon.
Story by Hannah Wankel
Photo by Hannah Wankel