Tue February 15, 2011

Governor’s Budget Has Deep Cuts for K-12 Education

In his first budget Governor John Hickenlooper is proposing the highest cuts to K through 12 schools the state has ever seen to fill an estimated $1 billion shortfall.

“We took absolutely no joy in the reductions that had to be made,” says Hickenlooper's budget director Henry Sobanet.

Hickenlooper’s budget plan for next year shows a major reduction in spending compared to the previous plan submitted by former Governor Bill Ritter. It calls for cuts to Medicaid providers, the closing of the Ft. Lyon Correctional facility near Las Animas, and cutting higher education funding by an additional $36 million.

But K through 12 schools are facing nearly 400 million dollars in cuts. That amounts to about $500.00 per student. The proposal comes at a time when many inner city schools have won praise for closing student achievement gaps. 

Joe Sandoval, principal at Denver’s Manual High, says this will be a setback.

"That’s going to mean some jobs, and it’s going to mean some jobs across the board, whether it’s administrative positions or teaching positions, materials and supplies, it’s going to impact the school pretty significantly next year," says Sandoval.

Sandoval expects his school to see a $200,000.00 cut and he says that will likely also mean larger class sizes. K through 12 schools currently makes up about 40% of the state budget.

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