Teachers in Colorado are in short supply. It’s estimated that some 3,000 teaching jobs across the state are vacant. Some teaching positions in foreign languages, science, and math empty for years. $10 million in cannabis taxes were designated to trying to reduce this shortage in Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposed budget that was released early in November.
$10 Million in Cannabis Taxes May Be Used to Attract New Teachers
The $10 million will try to tackle the shortage of teachers by both attracting new teachers and maintaining current ones. Rural communities have been taken most of the impact, and there will be a large effort to reverse shortages in rural areas.
Public hearings were held in several areas throughout Colorado this past summer. Held by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Higher Education Department, administrators, teachers, and residents of selected areas were asked about their ideas on how to end the shortage of teachers.
Hearings were held in Parachute, Ridgeway, Ignacio, Limon, Las Animas, Leadville, Denver, and Colorado Springs.
According to Gladis Gee, spokeswoman for the education department, “We are evaluating the specific needs and priorities we heard from the teacher shortage town halls conducted over the summer and looking to find programs where this infusion of dollars could create more systemic solutions for our rural schools.”
How Will the Proposed Budget Work?
Suggestions of how to spend the $10 million include: creating more effective ways of licensing teachers, boosting salaries, implementing a statewide salary system, and increasing accessibility of training and classes that lead to career advancement.
The budget proposal presented by Hickenlooper states, “We anticipate a significant focus on the challenges rural communities face in attracting, retaining and developing the qualified teachers needed to support positive student outcomes.”
Colorado marijuana tax money is already being spent in schools to help prevent teen use of cannabis. This most recent proposal will work to get teachers where they need to be, and help keep them in their respected positions for years to come. It was sent to the Joint Budget Committee for deliberation, with the final decision expected sometime this spring.