The largest expense item in the General Fund budget is the state’s share of K-12 Education, representing almost 40% of the annual budget.

The state currently pays for about 70% of total K-12 Education costs while local governments pay for the remaining 30%. The amount of the state’s budget which must be dedicated to fund K-12 is mandated in our state’s constitution (Amendment 23) and this expenditure is therefore out of the legislature’s control.

Ironically, even though K-12 represents the largest item in the state’s budget, and the state is constitutionally-mandated to fund K-12 per Amendment 23, state funding for K-12 has been significantly reduced over the last decade. In 2010, in an effort to balance the state’s budget during the Great Recession, the state reinterpreted the Amendment 23 funding mandate which resulted in reducing funding for K-12 education by almost $1 billion per year.

While Colorado spent more than the national average on per-pupil funding in the 1980s, this investment has steadily declined and, today, we spend almost $2000 less per student than the national avera