Amendment 73 would increase spending on public schools by at least $1.6 billion a year. Proponents say it is needed because Colorado school spending never recovered from the Great Recession. In fact, the legislature began appropriating more funds for education as soon as the Colorado economy began to recover. School spending is now at an all-time high.
Per pupil spending has also increased. What schools do is more important than what schools spend. It is unlikely that even more spending will cure what ails Colorado schools. Colorado reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have been at or slightly above the national average for the last decade, meaning more spending doesn’t necessarily equate to better outcomes.
Linda Gorman is an economist at the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.