Letter to the Editor: This bill makes me feel encouraged about the education system

Joe Kassay

For the first time in almost a decade of teaching in Colorado, I feel encouraged by current education funding legislation on Capitol Hill. Senate Bill 23-214 calls for an 8.4% increase in per pupil spending and an $8.9 billion increase in base education funding in 2023-2024. For Summit, that could mean over $2 million of new, unassigned funding in our schools.

We are faced with an opportunity to invest in students and educators. Our students deserve educators who stay. Summit County needs educators who stay. Colorado ranks 50th in teacher competitive wages. We need to hook young teachers and reward those who find a way to afford Summit County for the long haul.

My wife (a teacher) and I live in a deed-restricted house and use our spare space to accommodate roommates. We look forward to a day when our economic stability isn’t dependent on split living conditions or relying on roommates to supplement expenses. At some point, we’d like to upgrade from the dormitory. 

Using new education dollars to improve local salaries will positively impact students. When we have competitive applicant pools from which to hire, each building in the district can find the best possible educators to work in their classrooms. Students benefit from the consistency and expertise of seasoned teachers. Constantly rotating through new employees is both financially costly and detrimental to student learning.

With additional funding heading our way, it is time to invest in the educators who encourage, teach, and mentor children across the county. I’m proud to work in the Summit School District. I’m proud of the improvements we’ve made in recent years. I hope we can use these new dollars to attract the most talented educators in the state and build dynamic learning experiences for our kids.

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