Opinion: Schools for a bright Colorado

RBC I A campaign to stop the devastating and short-sighted school budget cuts is on pace to reach the ballot as a grassroots movement continues its petition drive.
The campaign to give voters a choice to reinvest in Colorado’s schools and communities has passed the halfway mark toward its goal of gathering 125,000 petition signatures, state Sen. Rollie Heath announced today.
“Coloradans in every corner of the state are coming together to put an end to the devastating and short-sighted cuts to our schools,” Heath said. “Mothers and fathers, teachers and college students, and people from all walks of life have spent the past month talking to their neighbors about Initiative 25, building a grassroots network that understands the need to reinvest in our kids and our future. We all know education is the key to attracting quality businesses and good-paying jobs.”
To qualify for the Nov. 1 election ballot, supporters of Initiative 25 need to submit signatures from 86,000 registered voters by Aug. 1. The campaign is aiming to collect 125,000 signatures to allow for errors in the signature-gathering process. For the first time volunteers are able to download petitions and in the process the campaign has developed a remarkable grassroots effort that has collected more than 65,000 signatures, circulated petitions in 90 Colorado communities and garnered endorsements from 37 organizations.
The grassroots campaign is the result of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers from dozens of organizations working in a coalition under the campaign name “Support Our Schools for a Bright Colorado.” Heath said he’s confident the campaign is on pace to get on the ballot, but to underscore the urgency of the effort and the independent-Western mindset of the movement, the campaign has dubbed the petition drive “Ballot or Bust.”
“Even with this early success, we aren’t resting,” Heath said. “Our campaign has already surpassed the expectations of Colorado’s political professionals, and we are on pace to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. But we can’t afford to let up. We need to work hard now more than ever to make sure we give Colorado voters the chance to put a stop to the cuts to our schools.”
Initiative 25 would raise more than $500 million a year for Colorado’s schools and colleges for five years by restoring state sales and income tax rates to 1999 levels. Taxes would return to current levels after five years.
For more information, contact Terry Scanlon at (303)957-8137. Learn more about Ballot or Bust at www.facebook.com/BallotOrBust. Petitions can be downloaded at www.brightcolorado.com.