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How Colorado education measures up against the rest of the country

How Colorado education stacks up

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Teachers are up in arms across the country and Colorado -- locally, teachers are asking for a higher salary and that their pensions be left alone.

The Public Employees Retirement Association has recently proposed decreasing the amount that would go to school employees and taking the difference from school districts.

This isn't the first time teachers have gone on strike, but Kevin Vick, president of the Colorado Springs Education Association said, "the last straw was when they really started talking about diminishing our retirement systems."

Vick says in a booming economy like the one Colorado has seen over the last year, the education fund shouldn't be feeling this sort of deficit.

"We have [money] in transportation, we have it in healthcare, we have it in a number of state government-funded services that the state government brings in but education seems to be this hodgepodge," Vick said.

We did some research that shows Colorado's education funding is lacking in comparison to the rest of the country.

As of 2017, an average teacher's salary is $51,810, but nationally the average is $58,353.

As for students, the most recent numbers show that in 2015, $9,960 was spent on each student every year, but across the country, the average is 15 percent higher at $11,787.

Graduation rates follow the same trend -- 77 percent of Colorado students are finishing high school, but nationally 88 percent of students are.

A question many have is whether or not paying a teacher more would reflect on the students? Executive Directors of Human Resources for Widefield School District #3, Kirk Vsetecka said, "It's one of the few professions that we have extremely high expectations and extremely high accountability for but then we don't compensate correctly."

The state's most recent budget allotted $6 billion dollars for education, all of it funded through your tax dollars. Former lawmaker and outspoken anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce said, "teachers want it all, they want to keep their 22 percent taxpayer contribution to their pension plus they want a pay raise, for what? To be rewarded for having walked off the job?"

A solution to this problem won't happen overnight, but protests planned for this Friday at the state capitol are the first step in what teachers are hoping is the right direction.

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