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Guest Commentary: Will Colorado Decide to Put Children First?

Colorado’s schools, colleges and universities are facing a funding crisis unlike any yet experienced in this state.

What will that look like in the next year or two?

Some kids will drop out of school, because there will be no counselor — or no art, music or athletic program — to prevent them from falling through the cracks. Frustration will overwhelm others when their learning disabilities or special talents cannot be recognized and addressed in an overcrowded classroom.

Some students will give up the dream of higher education when tuition increases make college impossible or when budget cuts eliminate the courses they need to graduate in a timely way. Some communities may even lose their colleges, their economic lifeblood.

For the Great Futures Colorado coalition, the severity and irreversibility of these cuts gave us no choice but to take action. Waiting might be convenient for adults, but our children don’t get do-overs. For them, educational opportunities delayed are opportunities lost.

That’s why we recently proposed a referred measure that we call DECIDE, for “Decide: Education Cuts or Invest in our Democracy and our Economy.” It would simply give voters the opportunity to decide whether to give our legislators tools to balance the budget without further slashing education.

DECIDE has been introduced